There is already
a poll out of the Connecticut Senate race, demonstrating that Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-CT) retirement has drastically improved Democratic chances of holding the seat, with state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal holding landslide leads over the Republican candidates.
By a very fortunate coincidence, Public Policy Polling (D)
was already in the field with a poll testing both Dodd and Blumenthal as Democratic nominees, in order to determine whether Democrats would do better by dumping the incumbent. The answer is an emphatic yes
Dodd and Blumenthal were each tested against the three Republican candidates: Former Rep. Rob Simmons, former Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, and financial analyst and Ron Paul activist Peter Schiff. Dodd trailed Simmons by 44%-40%, was tied 43%-43% with McMahon, and led Schiff by 44%-37%. By contrast, Blumenthal leads Simmons by 59%-28%, is ahead of McMahon by 60%-28%, and leads Schiff by 63%-23%.
PPP also tested second-term Rep. Chris Murphy as a potential Democratic candidate. This is purely a hypothetical issue now that Blumenthal will likely be the Democratic nominee, but Murphy also would have led the GOPers, albeit by lesser margins due to his low statewide name recognition. Murphy leads Simmons by 42%-35%, McMahon by 43%-36%, and Schiff by 44%-28%.
This poll was conducted before the retirement news itself, and before Blumenthal got into the race. While in theory Blumenthal's numbers could change due to the switch from being a hypothetical candidate to an actual candidate open to public scrutiny, it's still very clear that he's an unambiguous step up from Dodd in terms of electability. The seat should now be considered a likely Democratic hold.