Linda McMahon Scrambles to Attract Independent, Women Voters

Female voters prefer her opponent by a two-to-one margin

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Republican Linda McMahon's bid to succeed Christopher Dodd as senator from Connecticut has hit an unexpected snag: she's largely failing to win support from women. A Q Poll suggests that women voters favor her Democratic opponent Richard Blumenthal by a nearly two-to-one margin. The New York Times (which tacitly endorsed her opponent) followed up the polling with interviews with dozens of Connecticut women. The Times report claims that many of these females are "uneasy" with McMahon and are "troubled by what they see as the harshness of the attacks" that she levels at Blumenthal. In the final weeks of the campaign, McMahon's camp will make a conscious effort to "soften" her image and push for another key Connecticut constituency: independents.

  • Independent Voters Are the Most Important  The Wall Street Journal's Devlin Barrett breaks down voting demographics in the "land of independents": Connecticut has "more than 900,000 unaffiliated voters, who outnumber about 800,000 registered Democrats and some 400,000 registered Republicans." And each candidate is pursuing a different strategy to garner these votes. McMahon, in a barrage of ads, is raising questions about Blumenthal's record, while the Democrat has attacked McMahon about job outsourcing. Blumenthal "has accused World Wrestling Entertainment of sending jobs overseas through toy-licensing contracts with companies that manufacture in Pakistan and elsewhere."

  • So Are Women, and They Don't Support McMahon Raymond Hernandez at The New York Times details the Republican candidate's women problem: "A CNN/Time poll last week showed the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, with a nearly two-to-one advantage among female voters" and the campaign has "flooded" the airwaves with ads. On the bright side, "Men often praise Ms. McMahon’s business acumen and some show up at her campaign events, eager to talk to her about wrestling and to be photographed with her."
  • 'Blumenthal Pulling Away?' The Hotline's Jeremy P. Jacobs reports: "Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has opened up an 11-point lead over former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R), according to a Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday. Blumenthal leads 54% to 43% among likely voters. This is the fourth recent poll that shows Blumenthal up double digits and is an indication that this one is increasingly looking safe for the Democrats."
  • McMahon's 'Got Very Big Problems' says Rick Green bluntly at The Hartford Courant. "The new Q-Poll suggests that only about 3 percent of likely voters are undecided about how to vote in the race between Linda McMahon and Richard Blumenthal. Judging from the senate vote in 2004 and 2006, that's probably around 35,000 people. It's bad news that both women and independents now appear to be breaking for Blumenthal."
  • She Is Hedging to Attract Moderates The Connecticut Mirror's Deirdre Shesgreen explains that Blumenthal is much more unequivocal in his stances, particularly on abortion. McMahon's "split-the-difference" position on abortion tries to appeal to both social liberals and conservatives, but among some pro-choice supporters it "raises concerns about a host of lower-profile reproductive-rights issues."
  • We Don't Like Her Policies, So We'll Endorse Blumenthal  The New York Times editorial board decided to endorse Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, largely because it appears to find the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment ("a noisy, demeaning business") an unacceptable option. "Her policy positions, when you can discern them, are remixes of failed trickle-down ideas....She essentially expects voters to take it on faith that she will do as well in government as she did in spectacle wrestling."
  • Gaffes Are Catching Up to Her  A liberal Daily Kos blogger notes that McMahon's dismissive "it's just soap opera' schtick isn't playing well. And that's true even after the media-savvy McMahon could do no better than a draw in the debates with Blumenthal, who hammered her on her WWE experience and minimum wage gaffe." The writer concludes: "The only liberal thing about McMahon is her spending, and that won't be enough to win."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.