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So I normally don't like to bring up any troubling news on a Friday night here but then again the news out of Connecticut regarding Governor Dan Malloy's (D. CT) re-election bid has some mixed messages:

Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy of Stamford and Republican challenger Tom Foley of Greenwich are in a tie in the race for governor of Connecticut, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday.

Foley, a businessman and former ambassador to Ireland, has a big lead in the Republican field, the poll said.

Malloy's handling of the state budget and taxes, including his failed promise to offer $55 tax refunds, are big hurdles in his re-election campaign, the poll said.

His job approval stands at 48 percent vs. 46 percent, with voters saying by a slight 48 percent to 44 percent margin that he does not deserve to be re-elected, the poll said.

Malloy and Foley remain deadlocked at 43 percent to 43 percent.  - Fairfiled Daily Voice, 5/9/14

While this poll is encouraging for Foley, it's also encouraging for the other GOP nominees:

But heading into the Republican nominating convention next weekend, the poll is good news for two other Republican hopefuls: Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, of Fairfield, and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

Boughton and McKinney said they were buoyed by the poll and they expect to win enough support at the convention to force August primaries.

In a survey of 443 Republicans, the poll shows Foley has 39 percent support among Republicans, up 3 points since a similar poll in March, McKinney received 8 percent up from 3 percent. Boughton's support decreased to 9 percent, down from 11 in March, but was well within the poll's margin of error.

The much larger survey of 1,668 registered voters asked about a hypothetical matchup of each Republican against Malloy.

Foley, the 2010 runner-up, is tied with Malloy at 43 percent. Boughton would get 39 percent, against Malloy's 44 percent. The matchup has McKinney at 40 percent against 44 percent for the incumbent.

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, another hopeful, is down 37-45 to Malloy. Two-time attorney general candidate Martha Dean of Avon dropped out of the race Friday, citing her meager 5 percent statewide support in the poll.

"It shows that any of the top-tier candidates can be competitive," Boughton said in a phone interview. "We feel like we're in good shape and moving in the right direction. We're going to do real well and we're going to surprise people at the convention. It depends how well we do with the delegates out there."

McKinney, who finished his eighth term in the state Senate this week, said in a phone interview that he was pleased with the poll.

"It shows that I am within 4 points of Gov. Malloy, despite having not run statewide and not spent any money," McKinney said. "I think the poll clearly shows that my favorability is moving in the right direction, that my candidacy is getting stronger and without doubt I have put myself in my best position to beat the candidate we had in 2010. The convention is one step in the process. Our goal is to be there in the fall." - CT Post, 5/9/14

There's a reason Malloy's approval ratings are this way:

The recently concluded legislative session, one in which weakening revenue projections forced Malloy to renege on a promised tax refund of $55, barely moved the needle from its previous poll in March.

Elected with less than 50 percent of the vote in a three-way race, Malloy has yet to crack 50 percent in two key polling measures: job approval and "deserves re-election."

His approval rating in the new poll was 48 percent to 46 percent, while 44 percent said he deserves re-election; 48 percent said he does not.

Despite the incumbent's fundamental weaknesses, the 2014 race for governor in Connecticut remains one of the nation's most competitive, according to every hypothetical November match up.

"The good news for Gov. Malloy is that the negative headlines about his cancellation of the $55 per person tax refund does not seem to affect his overall approval rating or his standing in the governor's race. The bad news is that almost all the Republicans are within single digits of Malloy, with Foley tied and Boughton and McKinney on his heels," said Douglas Schwartz, the poll's director.

The first-term governor took office in January 2011 to confront a $3.6 billion budget shortfall, two decades of no net job growth and the lingering effects of the 2008 recession. The new poll indicates that the economy and budget are the biggest obstacles to his re-election.

By a margin of 59 percent to 36 percent, voters see Malloy as a strong leader. He is viewed as honest and trustworthy, someone who cares about their problems. But fewer than 40 percent give him good grades for his handling of the economy and budget.

"Economic issues are dragging Gov. Malloy down," Schwartz said.

Only 21 percent of voters said they were better off than four years ago.

Malloy's relationship with teachers has been prickly, but voters favored his handling of education, 45 percent to 39 percent. - The CT Mirror, 5/9/14

Here's a little more info:

The surplus issue touches an area of vulnerability for Mr. Malloy. Voter support for his stewardship of the budget has never been strong since he came into office in 2011. He hasn't earned more than a 37% approval rating for his handling of the budget in Quinnipiac University polls.

James Hallinan, a campaign spokesman for Mr. Malloy, said Connecticut had made progress since the governor inherited a $3.6 billion deficit during his first year in office. To erase the deficit, Mr. Malloy raised taxes by $1.5 billion and won concessions from state public-employee unions.

Mr. Malloy "balanced the budget, he wiped out that deficit, there is more money going into the rainy day fund, tens of thousands of private-sector jobs have been added and there is a surplus," Mr. Hallinan said. "The governor's focus remains on good-paying jobs, education and moving Connecticut forward."

But Connecticut Republicans say the evaporation of the surplus was further proof that the state is headed down the wrong path. They also dismissed as an election-year gimmick a proposal by Mr. Malloy—when the surplus appeared bigger—to issue tax rebates.

Mr. Malloy is now focused on raising money to qualify for the state's campaign public-financing program, an official with his campaign said. Once he raises $250,000, he would be eligible to receive $6.5 million for the general election. His campaign team is also preparing for the Democratic convention that begins May 16.

Working with Democrats who control both houses of the Legislature, Mr. Malloy pushed through several high-profile priorities likely to be highlighted in his campaign. They included a minimum-wage increase that was touted in a campaign-style rally in March with President Barack Obama, an expansion of preschool programs and a $400 million economic-development deal for United Technologies Corp., the state's largest private employer.

Mr. Malloy began 2014 by highlighting the expected budget surplus, but it largely disappeared just days before the state Legislature passed an $18.8 billion budget as tax revenue came in lower than projected.

Mr. Malloy's budget office wasn't alone in being caught off-guard by the collapse of the surplus. In March, the state Legislature's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis and the state comptroller's office both had estimated a surplus of more than $500 million. But state-tax revenue projections in April fell $442.2 million short of earlier estimates, according to the Office of Fiscal Analysis.

Mr. Malloy has defended his plan to give residents tax rebates, saying last week that neighboring states such as New Jersey also had weaker-than-expected revenues. "If I had come forward and said we are going to have a gigantic surplus and we don't have a plan for how it's expended, what would your reaction have been?" he said.

It will be a challenge for Mr. Malloy to convey to his advantage the economic strides the state has taken and the improvement of its budget picture, said Scott McLean, professor of political science at Quinnipiac University.

"He wants to take credit it for it, but he doesn't want to oversell it and overplay his hand," Mr. McLean said. "Don't raise expectations too much because you might have to eat your words." - Wall Street Journal, 5/8/14

So while the poll has a mixed bag for Malloy, it puts Foley's bid in perspective:

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.

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. - The New Haven Register, 5/9/14

And that's why it could really intense now in the GOP primary.  Foley lost to Malloy in 2010 and this poll gives the other GOP nominees a shot at making the case to voters that they too could beat Malloy.  David Nir puts some things in perspective:
Most of the Republicans saw their vote shares climb a bit, but otherwise, things are pretty steady. One thing that will change soon, though, is the state of play in the GOP primary. Right now, Foley is far ahead of the pack with 39 percent, while everyone else is in single digits. However, Connecticut Republicans will hold their bi-annual convention a week from now, and depending on how things shake out, the party may rally around a single candidate (with Foley presumably the best bet). But other hopefuls can still petition their way on to the Aug. 12 primary ballot, so Foley may or may not have a clear path to the nomination.
So Malloy's down but not out and Foley is up but not completely guaranteed the nominee.  A nasty GOP primary is always a good thing for us but we can't fully depend on that.  Malloy still has what it takes to win but only if we get our base out to the polls.  This race will be tight but we can still hold onto it.  If you would like to donate and get involved with Malloy's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Fri May 09, 2014 at 11:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Fri May 09, 2014 at 11:32:14 PM PDT

  •  One factor missing here: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A strong third party candidate: Jonathan Pelto.
    He is attractive to the Left edge of the Democratic party and could very well win the nod from CT Working Families Party. In a razor-edge election, he might well tip the balance in favor of Foley.
    In 2010, CWFP delivered 20000 votes to Malloy, the decisive factor in that election. If Pelto blocks Malloy out of that line, he (Pelto) won't win and neither will Malloy.
    The people of CT will be the big losers. Foley is a disaster in the making.
    What we need here is a TeaBagger candidate to do to Foley what Pelto will do to Malloy, drag off the purists.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat May 10, 2014 at 05:13:52 AM PDT

  •  Martha Dean what a freaking joke. (0+ / 0-)

    Goes to show that the CT gun nuts only account for 5%.  So anyone who says gun control is a loser issue for Dems in CT has no freaking clue what they're talking about.  She WAS the gun nuts wet dream as far as a candidate.  Someone who supports repealing gun laws, an attorney who is fighting the new gun laws, someone who said children should be taught to fire guns.  Gun nuts have no other alternative.  Foley already stated he won't repeal them.  McKinney pushed the tougher laws.  Boughton was for the new laws before he became against them and isn't trusted by gun nuts.  the rest are also rans.  

     It'll be interesting to see what happens in August.  I suspect Foley will be the nominee and this race will end up being between Foley and Malloy again.  Malloy at 43% is a bit troubling and considering he's pissed off ALOT of teachers he'll have a tough time getting to 50%.  But CT is a blue state and Dems have a voter registration advantage so Foley getting to 50% will also be difficult.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Sat May 10, 2014 at 05:16:10 AM PDT

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