As we head toward Election Day, one hot-ticket Senate race seems to have solidified for the Democrats: The Connecticut Senate race, where Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal faces Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon in the contest to succeed retiring Dem Sen. Chris Dodd.
A few weeks ago, Blumenthal seemed to be up against the wall. Though he has never trailed McMahon in any single poll, his lead against her nevertheless was shrinking with each new survey. He had faced heavy scrutiny as a result of having previously misstated his military service
, and McMahon's pitch as a businesswoman seemed well tuned to the current environment.
On the other hand, McMahon has faced her own troubles over WWE performers who have died young
, and she has had to distance herself from WWE programming
. The candidates have held multiple debates
, though, and a trend has now emerged of Blumenthal remaining ahead, as McMahon attempts (unsuccessfully so far) to overtake him.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Bringing The Smackdown: Linda McMahon's Campaign For Senate, And Her Colorful Pro-Wrestling Past]
The TPM Poll Average gives Blumenthal a lead of 51.6%-43.3%. As you can see from the graph, Blumenthal's lead started out being very wide, but both his and McMahon's trend-lines began approaching each other as straight lines -- but eventually the slopes of the lines began to stabilize, and no longer seem to be on a collision course.
Only three weeks ago, McMahon was closing in on Blumenthal, thanks to her big spending on the race, with many polls showing the race's margin shrinking to the mid-single digits. At the very narrowest results, Quinnipiac put Blumenthal's lead at only 49%-46%, and Rasmussen put it at 50%-45%.
But now those same pollsters put it much wider: Quinnipiac and Rasmussen both have Blumenthal ahead by an identical 54%-43%.
Of the eight public polls of the race from October, Blumenthal led by double digits in six of them. In the other two, he still led by six and 7.7%, respectively.
And indeed, this is starting to sink into the conventional wisdom -- the New York Times has now changed its rating on the race from Toss-Up to Leans Democratic.
Of course, a lot could still happen between now and Election Day. But for the moment, this is one seat where the Democrats seem to have a lot less to worry about than they do in other places.