Professional wrestling tycoon Linda McMahon has tripled her lead over former Rep. Christopher Shays in the Republican primary for Connecticut’s open U.S. Senate seat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning.
Mrs. McMahon, who made an unsuccessful bid for the state’s other Senate seat two years ago, now leads Mr. Shays 59 percent to 30 percent, establishing herself as the front-runner two months before they face off in the GOP primary.
And while Mr. Shays, the clear favorite of the state’s GOP establishment, has been arguing that he is the only candidate who can win the general election, the poll showed Mrs. McMahon with a better chance against likely Democratic nominee Chris Murphy.
While Mr. Shays polled neck and neck with Mr. Murphy in March, he now trails Mr. Murphy by 8 percentage points. Meanwhile, Mrs. McMahon has closed in, coming in 3 points behind Mr. Murphy compared with 15 points in March.
The results could ease some concerns by establishment Republicans, who have worried that if Mrs. McMahon wins the nomination, she could diminish the party’s chances of winning the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats.