by Jennifer Swift
Mar 4, 2014
05:24 AM
Connecticut Politics

Foley is GOP Frontrunner, While Other Candidates Remain Largely Unknown

Foley is GOP Frontrunner, While Other Candidates Remain Largely Unknown

Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register

A majority of voters haven't heard enough about candidates for governor to decide if they like them enough to vote for them, except for the two who last fought for the governor's mansion in 2010.

In a Quinnipiac Poll released eight months out from the election, voters can't say whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of many of the Republican candidates for governor.

Only eight percent of voters say they don't know enough about Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to rate him, and 39 percent say the same about Tom Foley, the GOP candidate for governor in 2010. Foley and Malloy are tied in the Quinnipiac poll, both earning 42 percent of the vote if it were held today. Foley also leads a Republican primary with 36 percent of the vote.

When it comes to other candidates however, voters don’t know enough.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who would hold 11 percent in a primary according to today’s poll, still isn't known well enough among 82 percent of polled voters. According to the poll, only 16 percent knew enough about Boughton to rate his performance, with 12 percent rating their opinion of him as favorable, and four percent unfavorable.

State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney is unknown to 72 percent of voters. Among those who do know him, 19 percent have a favorable opinion of him versus 8 percent with an unfavorable opinion.

Though Boughton earns 11 percent in a Republican primary, the poll shows, and McKinney dropped from 11 percent to 3 percent in a primary, Boughton’s projected loss to Malloy in an election is only somewhat better than McKinney’s loss. If the election were held today, Boughton would lose with 35 percent of the vote to Malloy’s 44 percent. Voters are likely to vote for Malloy and give him 43 percent of the vote to McKinney’s 37 percent should the two face off.

The candidate most unknown to voters is former West Hartford town councilman Joe Visconti, with 89 percent. State Sen. Toni Boucher, of Wilton, is unknown to 87 percent, and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti isn’t known enough by 85 percent to make an opinion of him.

Foley’s status as the front-runner can have its drawbacks, warns Quinnipiac Polling Institute Director Doug Schwartz.

"Foley dominates other Republicans vying for the nomination, who have little statewide recognition," Schwartz said in a statement. "One potential problem for Foley is if he gets bloodied during the primary process. For Malloy, perhaps the biggest worry is that he's never been able to get over 50 percent in job approval - a danger sign for any incumbent."

According to the poll, 46 percent of voters view Malloy, who has not yet announced if he’s running for re-election, favorably, compared to 43 percent who view him unfavorably. That number held steady from the last poll in June 2013.

Foley is GOP Frontrunner, While Other Candidates Remain Largely Unknown

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