May 9, 2014
02:24 PM
Connecticut Politics

Quinnipiac poll: Malloy, Foley still deadlocked in governor’s race

Taxes and the state budget are negatively impacting Gov. Dannel P. Malloy with more people saying, by a small margin, that he should not be re-elected to a second term.

The Quinnipiac Poll released on Friday, which was issued one week before the Republican convention, shows Malloy and Republican Tom Foley continuing to be deadlocked in the race, 43 percent to 43 percent, while Malloy would beat Republican contender state Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney 44 percent to 40 percent and edges out Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton 44 percent to 39 percent.

The voters continue to be divided in their opinion of how Malloy is handling his job as governor with 48 percent approving it and 46 percent disapproving.

The trend line however, going back to March 2013, continues to show a split on whether he should be re-elected with 44 percent saying he deserves it to 48 percent who say no, slightly up from the March poll where 45 percent said he should be re-elected in November to 46 percent who were against this.

In an open-ended question, 18 percent of voters said their disapproval of Malloy’s performance centered on budget/state finances; 16 percent were upset with taxes and 11 percent were concerned with the economy/jobs.

“Economic issues are dragging Gov. Malloy down,” said Quinnipiac Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said in a statement.

Asked how satisfied they are with the way things are going in Connecticut, 44 percent were satisfied or somewhat satisfied to 56 percent who were somewhat or very dissatisfied.

As they have in the past, the Malloy campaign declined to comment.

“We have tried to be consistent in not saying much about polls because, what’s there to say? Polls come and go, numbers go up and down. The governor always does what he thinks is best for the state and the right thing to do,” said his campaign spokesman James Hallinan.

Chris Cooper, campaign manager for Foley, said the poll reaffirms that the voters in Connecticut are unhappy with Malloy.

“They want someone with a fresh approach and smarter policies,” Cooper said.

With Foley in a dead heat with Malloy in a “very blue state,” it shows “time is running out for Gov. Malloy.,” Cooper said.

The voters give Malloy good grades - 45 percent to 39 percent - for the way he is handling eduction, but on the money issues, he got negative feedback.

On the budget, 35 percent thought he did a good job to 53 percent who didn’t; 32 percent said his handling of taxes was the right thing to 61 percent who disagreed; 38 percent backed him up on the economy and jobs to 55 percent who didn’t.

Malloy has never scored higher than a 37 percent approval rating on handling the budget, according to Quinnipiac Polls.

When Malloy took office in 2011, he raised taxes by $1.5 billion to take care of the $3.6 billion deficit he inherited from the previous administration.

Voters were split with 21 percent feeling this helped the economy; 32 percent thought it hurt it, while 39 percent said it made no difference.

Malloy continues to get high marks for leadership, 59 percent to 36 percent; 57 percent to 33 percent, voters think he is honest and trustworthy and 49 percent to 45 percent said they feel he cares about their needs and problems.

Heath Fahle, Boughton’s campaign manager, said, in a statement, that the poll shows “the public sees Mark Boughton as an increasingly attractive alternative to Dan Malloy. Republicans have a chance to get Connecticut back on the right track - if we nominate Mark Boughton.” He said Foley has failed to capitalize on Malloy’s weaknesses, while Boughton closed a nine percentage point gap in a poll last month to five percentage points.

Schwartz said the bad news for the governor is that “almost all the Republican candidates are within single digits of Malloy, with Foley tied and Boughton and McKinney on his heels.”

Jerry Labriola, chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party, said the polls show “voters are tired of Dan Malloy’s mishandling of the Connecticut economy.”

“Over the past few years, Dan Malloy has proven that the only way he knows how to balance a budget is with the largest tax increases in state history and cheap gimmicks. But our commonsense Republican leaders know that you can’t tax, borrow, and spend your way to prosperity. The only way to fix Connecticut’s ailing economy is by electing a pro-growth Republican governor this November,” Labriola said.

Non-partisan analysts are projecting a $1.3 billion state deficit in fiscal 2016, the first year for which the next administration will have to budget. Those same analysts and the state comptroller’s office had also agreed there would be a $500 million surplus.

The voters overwhelmingly, by 67 percent to 31 percent, agreed with the statement that Malloy’s proposed $55 tax refund was a campaign gimmick that should never have been offered. But they also agreed, 67 percent to 31 percent, that when the state is in good financial shape, it should return some revenues to taxpayers.

Earlier this spring, when the state was projecting a $506 million surplus this year, Malloy proposed putting most of it into savings and against pension obligations, with $155 million of it sent out as a $55 tax refund,

That surplus however, dropped to $43.3 million after the April income tax returns came in $389.1 million less than expected. Just before that announcement, Malloy’s office cancelled the proposed rebate.

The November gubernatorial election is expected to be a tight race as it was in 2010, when Foley lost to Malloy by a little more than 6,500 votes.

Foley continues to blow out his Republican opponents, according to the poll, with him leading 39 percent to 9 percent for Boughton and 8 percent for McKinney in a primary race with 28 percent undecided.

Even further behind are West Hartford Councilman Joe Visconti with 4 percent to three percent for Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and five percent to former Republican attorney general candidate Martha Dean.

Foley has a favorability rating of 36 percent to 23 percent, but 39 percent of the voters didn’t know enough about him to share an opinion.

The rest of the Republican field continues to have name recognition issues.

While he has been the state Senate minority leader since 2007, 71 percent of voters didn’t know enough about McKinney to rate him; 79 percent didn’t know Boughton, while 82 percent hadn’t heard enough about Lauretti; 84 percent were in the dark about Visconti and nearly three-quarters weren’t familiar with Martha Dean.

Dean, of Avon, announced in an email from her campaign Friday that she has withdrawn from the governor’s race.

Dean said she made the decision after the release of the latest Quinnipiac Poll results Friday.

The poll was taken May 1-6 and surveyed 1,668 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points, The survey includes 443 Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

Quinnipiac poll: Malloy, Foley still deadlocked in governor’s race

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