Incumbent Rep. Jahana Hayes and her Republican challenger George Logan are neck and neck according to a new poll commissioned by CT Examiner, which shows likely voters choosing inflation and rising prices by a two-to-one margin over abortion as the deciding issue in the race.
Hayes and Logan are each drawing 45%, with 10% of voters undecided and leaning toward Logan by a margin of 28% to 16%.
The CT Examiner/Fabrizio, Lee & Associates poll, conducted on Oct. 23-27, surveyed 1,800 likely voters, 600 per congressional district, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.
“She’s one of relatively few Black legislators in a district that is very not Black,” said Steven Moore, a professor of political science at Wesleyan University, who said Hayes’ relatively low approval ratings may be connected to the fact that she was elected at the same time as a group of outspoken female legislators of color known colloquially as the “squad.”
According to the CT Examiner/Fabrizio, Lee & Associates poll, 45% of voters disapprove of the job Hayes is doing in Congress, compared to 33% for Himes and 26% for Courtney.
“She hasn’t made herself a part of that group or attached herself to their policy positions,” said Moore. “But … I do wonder if some of the dislike of her among independents is maybe her being kind of associated with them anyway, just specifically because she is a Black woman.”
37% of independent voters say they plan to vote for Hayes, and 45% for Logan. Those numbers are flipped in the other congressional districts where Himes and Courtney take 44% and 45% of independents respectively.
“Logan presents himself well. He doesn’t go into detail on issues that often … the issue agenda is more in line with what Republican voters think – inflation, unemployment, economics have been for a while issues that have favored the Republican party,” said Paul Herrnson, a professor of political science at UConn.
Campaign financing, Herrnson said, has also made a difference in the Logan-Hayes race.
“Early on, Hayes dominated the race in terms of funding, and she still does,” said Herrnson, “but Logan has benefited from quite a bit of outside spending. Outside groups have spent more in support of Logan — almost twice as much in support of him — as [Logan’s] campaign has.”
Logan Dancey, a professor of political science at Wesleyan University, agreed.
“I think especially campaign spending matters for challengers, and the more challengers spend, the better known they are,” said Dancey.
Theresa Marchant-Shapiro, a professor of political science at Southern Connecticut University, cautioned however that the data for the 5th District included a large number of self-described likely voters who had not voted in the previous four elections, including many unaffiliated male voters.
“To me it’s really weird that people who haven’t ever voted before, period — not just in midterms but also in general elections — I just have a really hard time believing that they’re going to turn out and vote,” said Marchant-Shapiro.
“Normally, I would tend to suggest that would favor Republicans, since Republicans tend to be less likely to respond to polls — but with that weird sample, I am not sure that it’s as close as the poll indicates,” she said.
A WTNH poll/News 8/Emerson college poll released Wednesday of 500 likely voters found a 1-point lead for Republican challenger George Logan over incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.
The Hayes campaign did not respond to a request for comment from CT Examiner.
Logan said in a statement that he would continue to reach out to voters over the next week and a half.
“I’m laser focused on continuing to talk to as many voters as possible before Election Day and our team is working double time to get out the vote, the only poll that matters is on November 8th,” said Logan.
But with 86% of respondents in the 5th District claiming they will “definitely vote” – a number that significantly exceeds previous election results – Herrnson said that the race would likely turn on which voters actually cast ballots.
“Turnout will be everything here,” said Herrnson.
More insights on data from the 5th District
- Asked to choose, 63% of likely voters in said that inflation was the key issue in determining their vote, compared to 32% who said abortion rights was the most critical issue
- Six in 10 Democrats polled said abortion was the deciding issue in the election, while nearly nine in 10 Republicans said inflation. 65% of independent voters said inflation would be their main driver when casting a ballot
- Compared to the 4th District which showed a 10% advantage for Democrats on the generic ballot, the respondents in the 5th District favored Republicans 46% to 42%.
It’s the second election poll sponsored by the nearly four-year-old online news startup CT Examiner. The nonpartisan poll was conducted by Fabrizio, Lee & Associates, an Alexandria, VA-based pollster with a who’s who list of corporate and Republican clients, including AARP and former President Donald Trump. Fabrizio has previously served as chief pollster for 5 presidential campaigns and in 2017 was awarded “Pollster of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants.