Richard Blumenthal's campaign insists that despite a week's worth of highly damaging stories on his misleading of voters about his military service during the Vietnam era, the Connecticut attorney general's Senate candidacy remains in strong shape.
In a briefing with reporters on Monday, the campaign's pollster Al Quinlan relayed internal polling numbers that showed Blumenthal's job approval rating (voters who viewed him as excellent or good) at 62 percent. Meanwhile, Blumenthal's personal favorable/unfavorable rating stood at a still-strong 55 percent to 28 percent unfavorable.
The polls deserve to be digested with a strong grain of salt as they are not only internal numbers but were presented without any knowledge of methodology. That said, the study was conducted between May 19 and May 20 -- the heart of the Vietnam-related controversy -- and, as Quinlan noted, a full 91 percent of respondents said they had heard the story.
The campaign obviously is trying to use the numbers as evidence that it has emerged intact from self-created pitfalls and in strong position to win the Senate seat. Blumenthal, said Quinlan, has a "significant double-digit lead" in his race against likely Republican candidate Linda McMahon: 55-40 percent. Perhaps in a reflection of how weak the GOP field in the state truly is, Blumenthal's internal numbers have him peeling off 23 percent of the Republican vote.
"This guy has a remarkably deep connection with people. They know he's a fighter," said Quinlan. "They know he's a fighter for them... They see him as a guy who stands up for them, takes on the fights. This deep connection is what they're judging him on, not what they heard in the news last week."