U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., left, gestures as he answers a question as Republican Linda McMahon looks on during a candidate's debate for an open U.S. Senate seat at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Women and older voters are shifting away from Linda McMahon, the Republican candidate in Connecticut's U.S. Senate race, giving U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy, the Democrat, a 49 percent to 43 percent likely voter lead, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.
The last poll, released on Oct. 4, showed McMahon with 48 percent and Murphy with 47 percent.
In the Oct. 24 poll, women back Murphy 52 percent to 38 percent, compared to 50 percent to 44 percent on Oct. 4, while men are at 50 percent to 46 percent for McMahon, compared to 52 percent to 45 percent earlier.
Voters over 55 years old shift from a 48 percent to 48 percent split to 51 percent to 42 percent for Murphy.
"After being neck and neck among voters over 55, Murphy has opened up a 9-point lead among this age group. This could be in part due to Murphy's 16-point advantage among this age group on who would do a better job on Medicare and Social Security, which have become hot issues in this campaign," Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said.
The race remains fluid as 11 percent of Murphy voters and 14 percent of McMahon voters said they might change their mind in the next 13 days.
"It's deja vu all over again in the Connecticut Senate race. As we hit the final stretch of the campaign, Linda McMahon is beginning to fade, as she did in her 2010 run against Richard Blumenthal," Schwartz said. "Has she hit her ceiling? She took 43 percent of the vote in 2010, losing by 12 points to Blumenthal. Two weeks before the election, she is back at 43 percent."
Connecticut likely voters said Murphy better understands their economic problems and would favor the middle class, while McMahon would favor the wealthy.
"Murphy has taken the lead in the Senate race in part because more voters now believe he understands their economic problems better than McMahon," Schwartz said.
Voters have a mixed opinion of Murphy, with 39 percent favorable and 39 percent unfavorable, while McMahon gets a negative 41 percent to 47 percent favorability.
"One of McMahon's key strengths had been that voters liked her more than Murphy," Schwartz said. "Voters are evenly divided on Murphy but have a net negative opinion of McMahon. After improving her image from two years ago, her favorability rating has fallen back to about where she was in 2010.”
A Rasmussen Poll released on Tuesday was a near tie, with Murphy at 48 percent and McMahon at 47 percent.