Election Day: Early exit polling shows Darien race tilting Republican

Video by Laureen Vellante

Exit polling and turnout data from this afternoon has begun to paint the picture of a race that favors the GOP.

Exit polling done at Town Hall from 1 to 4 p.m.  showed incumbent First Selectman Jayme Stevenson leading challenger Democrat Rob Richards by a two to one margin. None of the respondents to the exit polling said they had voted for third candidate Chris Noe. Only 17% of those asked declined to answer the exit poll. This polling is, however, a snapshot of three hours at only one of five polling locations. Voter turnout has been up from 2015, with 18.1% of registered voters having voted at 4pm, compared to 15.3% two years ago. Representatives from the Board of Selectman ticket of both parties stood outside polling locations, thanking people of Darien for coming out to vote.

 

One voter, who is a registered independent, said, “I voted for the people that I know, and the people I believe in,” after saying they had submitted a split ballot. This is one of several throughout the afternoon who had said they voted their party in the selectman race, but were split on the rest of the ballot. Others said they voted their party with a few exceptions for people they knew.

Another voter, who moved to Darien over the summer, said they voted for the person they believed was best for the first selectman race, after having read about the candidates prior to the election. Other races however, left this voter feeling uninformed as they did not know much about the people on the ballot. A voter who went along the Democratic party line said the, “voted for my party, but I didn’t really know many of the candidates except a few.”

Other voters approached this election the same way, with one person who voted along the Republican party line saying, “I read about the candidates, and I went with who I thought the best fit would be. If it doesn’t work out I can change my mind.”

One voter said they voted straight Democrat because, “we need some balance,” and another who voted straight Democrat said “the Republicans just bicker too much.”

Later in the afternoon, one voter decided to vote straight Democrat because of President Donald Trump.

“I’d like to vote the issues, but I’m sending a message. Trump is disgusting and Republicans should be ashamed,” said the voter, adding, “your senators need to grow a pair and stand up to Trump.”

The voter said there are bigger issues than ”just fields,” after another nearby person pointed out that this was just a local election.

Both of Connecticut’s senators, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, along with Congressman Jim Himes, are Democrats and have been very outspoken critics of Trump.