Well, Quinnipiac's July poll on the CT races finally came out, and it's been so chock full of interesting stuff that I've had a hard time digesting it into anything even halfway resembling a coherent post. But what the hell, I'll try anyway, it's not like coherence is any kind of gold standard for me...
Of course, the two most important numbers are Lamont vs. Lieberman head-to-head for the primary, and Lamont vs. Lieberman vs. Some Republican Guy for the general election. The other numbers are useful for trying to understand where the headline numbers are coming from, and where they might be going.
To the Bulletpointmobile!
o The primary numbers are now 51-47 in favor of Lamont among likely CT voters, way up from 55-40 Lieberman last month. The three-way numbers are 51-27-9 in favor of Lieberman, which is not so hot. Bear in mind, however, that last month it was 56-18-8, Lamont has three months to keep improving, and Lieberman has three months to continue imploding.
o In the three-way election scenario, a narrow 46-44 majority of Dem voters chose Lamont, while Reps and Indies went for Lieberman 58-7 and 54-22, respectively (yes, Joe handily outpolled the Republican candidate among CT Republicans, 58-24).
o The percentage of CT voters who "haven't heard enough about" Lamont to have an opinion of him has dropped from 76 to 51. This is still Lamont's biggest hurdle, but he's making great strides here (it was 90% in May, and 93% in Feb.). It is worth noting that Lamont's other numbers are improving as this number improves - the more CT knows about Ned, the more they prefer him to Joe. Even with what I'm loosely calling "name recognition" at less than 50% (65% among likely primary voters), Lamont is already positioned to beat Lieberman in the primary, which buys him another 3 months of general election campaigning to make himself known to the rest of Connecticut.
o Only 24% of CT voters think Lamont has "the right kind of experience to be a United States Senator," with 39% Nos and 37% Don't Knows. Among CT Dems, it's 31-33-36, and among likely primary voters, it's 37-37-26. This is easily Lamont's biggest hurdle, convincing voters that his resume translates to the Senate. Fortunately, Lieberman's staff has been too clueless to make this a campaign issue... yet. Ned will need to counter this effectively if/when it comes up.
o CT voters think Lieberman "deserves to be reelected," 56-31. It's 68-23 among CT Republicans (this is not as bizarre as it sounds - if you look at approval ratings in the poll, you will see that CT Republicans actually like Lieberman better than Bush), but only 51-37 among CT Dems, and 46-45 among likely primary voters.
o Of the 31% of CT voters who don't think Lieberman deserves to be reelected, 42% chose some variation of "supported the war/not a real Democrat" as their main reason. Among likely primary voters, that number climbs to 56% (surprisingly, Joe's announcement that he would run as an Independent if he lost the primary barely registers: 1% among CT general population and Dems, 2% among Repubs, and 3% among likely primary voters). This is Lieberman's biggest hurdle, convincing Democratic voters that he's not a Republican in Democrat's clothing. I don't think he can do it; his record speaks for itself.
o When asked whether their primary vote would be for their guy or against the other guy, 63% of likely Lamont voters said they were voting against Lieberman, while only 11% of likely Lieberman voters said they were voting against Lamont. This is helping to blunt the effects of Lamont's low name-recognition: Everyone in Connecticut knows who Lieberman is, and an awful lot of them can't stand him.
Overall, I think Ned's in very good shape. All he has to do is stay the course and let Joe continue to make an ass of himself, and he should take the primary. The general election will be more challenging, as he will have to contend with the Republican and Independent votes, as well as a sizable chunk of the Democratic vote. I'm hoping that Joe being a colossal sore loser will hurt him among Dems and Indies, but I don't think Ned can count on that. Ned will have to get himself out there and make sure everyone in CT knows who he is, what he stands for, and that he's qualified to represent Connecticut in the Senate. He'll have three months after the primary - I think he can do it.