By Eugene Joh, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — A slight majority of voters approve of the way Gov. Dan Malloy (D) is currently handling his job, but do not think he deserves reelection, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. The study, conducted between May 1 and 6, surveyed 1,668 registered voters in the state.
The poll shows that 48 percent of respondents said that they approve of Malloy’s performance, against 46 percent who said they disapproved. When asked about whether or not Malloy deserved a second term, however, only 44 percent were in favor of his reelection. And 48 percent were against putting him back in office.
The news comes at a troubling time for Malloy, who looks to gain ground against familiar foe Tom Foley (R) in the 2014 gubernatorial race in November. Last week’s poll numbers also indicated that Malloy and Foley are deadlocked at 43 percent each heading into the most intense months of the campaign trail.
Four years ago, Malloy narrowly defeated Foley in the gubernatorial race by a margin of less than 1 percent, edging the race with about 6,500 more votes than his opponent. Early indications are that this year may provide a similarly close contest.
“It’s déjà vu all over again,” Douglas Schwartz, the director of the poll, said in a statement. “…Malloy and Foley remain locked in a dead heat,” he said.
Opinions of Malloy as an individual were almost even among those surveyed, with 46 percent saying their opinion is favorable and 45 percent saying it is unfavorable. Foley holds a better ratio with 36 percent favorable to 23 percent unfavorable, but the largest majority, 39 percent, said they haven’t heard enough about him, something that will likely change in the coming months.
The poll indicates a 35-53 majority disapprove of Malloy’s handling of the state budget, to go along with a 32-61 mark for taxes and a 38-55 mark for jobs and the economy. 45 percent of respondents who disapproved of Malloy in the poll said their main reason for disapproval was the budget, taxes, or jobs/economy. Conversely, just 14 percent of respondents who approved of Malloy said the main reason for their approval had to do with those three issues.
“Economic issues are dragging Gov. Malloy down,” Schwartz said. “A bright spot for Malloy is that voters think he has strong leadership qualities and is honest and trustworthy.”
The only decisive section of the poll for Malloy was when respondents were asked about his character. A 59-36 majority in the poll said that Malloy has strong leadership skills, while a 57-33 majority said they believe he is honest and trustworthy.
The poll indicates that Foley is the clear frontrunner in the Republican Party, holding a 39-9 advantage over his next closest competitor Mark Boughton. Leading up to primaries, Foley and Malloy seem poised for a sequel to their dramatic 2010 race for governor, with public opinion looking to be as indecisive as ever.
Tom Foley conceding his defeat in the 2008 gubernatorial election. Quinnipiac Poll shows it’s déjà vu.