A new independent poll in Connecticut finds Rep. Chris Shays (R) with a ten point lead over CLW-endorsed Jim Himes:
A Sacred Heart Univ.WSHU-FM poll; conducted 9/22-25; surveyed 400 LVs; margin of error +– 4.9% (release, 10/7). Tested: Rep. Chris Shays (R) and Greenwich Dem Chair Jim Himes (D).
C. Shays 41%
J. Himes 31%
At first glance, this would seem to refute the Himes-funded poll we blogged about a few weeks ago that showed a dead heat. To be sure, independent polls are usually more reliable than those paid for by campaigns, but, as usual, the devil is in the details.
The key detail here is name recognition. In the Himes poll, he enjoys 60% name recognition. In the independent poll, he is at 47%. The conclusion is pretty clear: when people know about Himes they tend to support him, but they are unwilling to support someone they don’t know against a popular longtime incumbent.
So where is Himes’ name recognition really? That’s hard to say without digging into the methodologies of the two polls. The safe and easy answer is that it is probably somewhere in between them.
In any case, Himes’ best strategy between now and election day is to blanket the airwaves with ads introducing him to voters. The only problem is that this district sits in the New York City media market, the most expensive in the country. The upside is that Himes is rumored to be about to file a September fundraising report with the FEC showing him bringing more than $800k, a phenomenal sum for a challenger. But he will need more.