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Rob Simmons remains Dodd’s toughest opponent

Rasmussen finds former GOP Congressman Rob Simmons is still Dodd’s toughest opponent, leading Dodd by 13% — 48% to 35%.

The newest candidate in the race, Linda McMahon — the ex-CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, also leads Dodd 44% to 38%. But Dodd is now so unpopular, even “long-shot” candidate Peter Shiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, leads Dodd — 40% to 39%.

What is most notable about the Rasmussen poll is McMahon’s high disapproval rating. More voters have a very unfavorable opinion of McMahon. While Simmons is seen very favorably by 12% and very unfavorably by 8%, McMahon’s very favorables total 14% and her very unfavorables are 17%. These findings comes on the heels of McMahon’s expensive promotional advertising campaign conducted in the absence of any other candidate advertising. Rasmussen considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers “at this point in a campaign.”

This is a big problem for McMahon and evidence that a major block of voters is already predisposed against her. The recent string of negative news stories about her will only feed that sentiment.

Amanda Carpenter reports that under McMahon’s tenure, the WWE signed porn actresses, such as Jillian Beyor and Candice Michelle, and featured other “divas” like Torrie Wilson in sexy WWE scenarios. During one match, available on YouTube, Miss Wilson strips off her skimpy bikini to reveal an even skimpier, nude-toned bikini and caresses and kisses another female wrestler.

In addition to its porn star divas, the WWE now targets 6-14 year olds in a youth initiative, which offers youngsters “age-appropriate content.” The initiative is so successful it reaches more than 2.6 million young fans each week.

Matt Lewis reports that some Dodd loyalists believe a McMahon nomination may be the key to Dodd’s salvation:

Dodd and the Democrats would try to use her involvement in the seedy business of pro-wrestling against her … In addition, it is likely that some social conservatives who would be turned off by McMahon – and decide stay home in a general election.

According to Erika Lovley at Politico, an angry group of famous pro wrestlers who once worked for McMahon are now attacking her:

The fact that we were out there experiencing trauma and drawing in untold millions for the company [means] we should have at least had some sort of health insurance.

[. . .]

The issue is of no small concern for the former athletes, a number of whom are battling debilitating injuries or ailments related to their careers in the ring. As independent contractors, pro wrestlers are not offered health insurance or pensions from WWE, according to several of the former stars and industry experts.

Lorie Byrd covered the attacks from high profile, successful former members of the WWE, an organization McMahon led but does not mention by name
in her campaign ads or brochures:

A week ago, Jesse Ventura spoke out against the WWE calling it “a joke” and “still in the stone age” due to pro wrestlers not having any form of organized union protection.Last week, in a Miami Herald report about his autobiography, Bruno Sammartino strongly criticized the organization Linda McMahon led on various grounds including the rising use of drugs, vulgarity and scantily clad women.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which landed in hot water for endorsing Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for 2010 over former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, and seeming to back Carly Fiorina over Chuck Devore in California, has not endorsed anyone in the Connecticut race.

But, McMahon is meeting with GOP leaders in Washington, D.C., this week. McMahon claims the meetings are not intended to seek endorsements, but after the Crist and Fiorina episodes one has to wonder.

Perhaps some of McMahon’s past political behavior and positions will dissuade the NRSC from pulling another Crist or Fiorina with McMahon:

  • In 2006, McMahon donated money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, when it defeated two Connecticut Republican congressmen.
  • McMahon told the Washington Post’s The Fix, she would have supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and didn’t have a clear answer on whether she would have voted for the Bush tax cuts.
  • Asked about the Obama Administration’s decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in a New York federal court rather than a military court in the Gitmo terrorist detention facility, McMahon hedged her bets, noting New York “has certainly tried other terrorists before.”
  • McMahon would not rule out running as an Independent if she did not get the Republican nomination in remarks before the Connecticut Union of College Republicans, at Fairfield University. McMahon’s Spokesperson subsequently said McMahon will stick with the GOP.

On taxcuts, an issue that should be no brainier for any Republican seeking high public office, McMahon failed to even articulate a position. On other important issues, her positions left much to be desired. Hopefully, McMahon’s campaign not-ready-for-prime time campaign will be enough to keep the NRSC from endorsing McMahon and let the Connecticut Republican voters pick the nominee to defeat Dodd.

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