Foley, a Greenwich businessman who narrowly lost to Malloy in 2010, dominates the crowded Republican primary field in the Connecticut governor’s race and is locked in a 42 – 42 percent dead heat with Malloy, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.
“Haven’t we seen this movie before?" says Douglas Schwartz, PhD, director of the Quinnipiac University poll. "A potential rematch of Gov. Dannel Malloy vs Tom Foley couldn’t get any closer.”
Foley leads 83 – 9 percent among Republicans and 45 – 33 percent among independent voters, while Malloy takes Democrats 79 – 10 percent. In addition, the poll finds, there is a large gender gap as women back the Democrat 45 – 37 percent while men go Republican 48 – 39 percent, the poll finds.
Malloy, who has said he will wait till after the 2014 Legislative Session to announce his re-election plans, gets a 48 percent approval rating from Connecticut voters, while 45 percent disapprove, according to the poll. Voters are divided 45 – 46 percent on whether he should be re-elected.
Less than a half hour after the poll results were released, Andrew Doba, director of communications for Malloy, issued the following statement:
“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.”
Foley Way Ahead of GOP Contenders
The QU Poll says Foley leads a Republican primary with 36 percent. His nearest competitor is Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton — Foley's running mate in 2010 — who has 11 percent. No other candidate tops 6 percent, yet 35 percent of Republican voters remain undecided.
For other Republican candidates, the poll says, anywhere from 72 percent of voters to 89 percent don’t know enough to form an opinion. Further, Malloy tops other possible Republican challengers by margins ranging from 6 to 11 percentage points, according to the poll.
“Foley dominates other Republicans vying for the nomination, who have little statewide recognition,” Schwartz adds. “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.”
Aside from Foley and Boughton, Republican candidates for governor are state Sen. John McKinney, state Sen. Toni Boucher, West Hartford businessman and Town Council member Joe Visconti, and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti. The GOP contenders, with the exception of Foley and Lauretti, met last month for their first debate.
"Boughton is emerging as the alternative to Foley even though he gets only 11 percent in the poll. The key is a full 35 percent of GOP voters are undecided," political analyst and consultant Patrick Scully writes on his blog, Hanging Shad.
"A poll on the race in March really means little," Scully adds. "Eight months out from the election is a lifetime in politics. But the Q poll does show who is positioned to challenge Foley in the coming months."
Malloy's Favorability Rating
The QU Poll finds that Connecticut voters give their governor a 46 – 43 percent favorability rating. Foley gets a 38 – 21 percent favorability.
Looking at Malloy’s personal qualities, Connecticut voters say:
- 60 – 35 percent that he has strong leadership qualities
- 59 – 33 percent that he is honest and trustworthy
- 50 – 45 percent that he cares about their needs and problems
What do you read into this poll?