The Hotline's Steven Shepard reports:


An internal poll conducted for the nascent campaign of former Conn. Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D) shows her narrowly ahead in Democratic primary matchups and three-way general election contests against incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) and the two GOP statewide nominees last year. The poll, conducted in mid-December, well before Bysiewicz announced her candidacy, shows Bysiewicz leading a three-way matchup with Lieberman and 2010 Senate nominee Linda McMahon (R), 34 percent to 30 percent to 28 percent. If 2010 gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley (R) is the GOP nominee, Bysiewicz leads, 33 percent to 29 percent to 27 percent. While Bysiewicz can claim leads in both matchups, the close margins indicate that a three-way contest could be anyone's race.

In a head-to-head race with McMahon, the Democrat led by about 20 points. The bottom line for Republicans: their best hope is that Lieberman runs for reelection. Otherwise 2012 will probably end up looking a lot like the 2010 blowout.