Murphy, however, might have more work on that front, as 32 percent of voters say they haven't heard enough about him to decide how they feel about him — almost twice as many as the 18 percent of voters who didn't know McMahon.

But President Obama still holds a 7-percentage-point lead over Mitt Romney, indicating Republicans in general could face a steeper climb to take the state.

Another poll, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, offers better news for Dems, as it shows Elizabeth Esty with a 9-point advantage over challenger Andrew Roraback. The poll also gives a generic Democrat a 10-point lead over a generic Republican, though the partisan background of the poll should be taken into account.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted from Aug. 22-26 among 1,472 likely voters and has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points. The DCCC poll was conducted Aug. 21-23 among 402 likely voters, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 points.