Budget, Taxes Hurt Gov. Malloy Q-Poll Finds; Foley Ties Malloy, has Big Lead in Republican Field

From Quinnipiac University:

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s handling of the state budget and taxes, including his failed promise to offer $55 tax refunds, are big hurdles as he scores a split 48 – 46 percent job approval rating, with voters saying by a slight 48 – 44 percent margin he does not deserve to be reelected, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Gov. Malloy remains deadlocked 43 – 43 percent in a reelection battle with Republican challenger Tom Foley, the poll finds. The incumbent edges State Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, 44 – 40 percent, and tops Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton 44 – 39 percent. He leads other little known challengers by margins of 8 to 10 percentage points.

One week before the Connecticut Republican Convention, Foley leads the GOP pack with 39 percent, followed by Boughton with 9 percent and McKinney with 8 percent. No other Republican tops 5 percent and 28 percent are undecided.

Malloy gets a divided 46 – 45 percent favorability rating. Foley’s favorability is 36 – 23 percent, with 39 percent who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. For the other Republicans, anywhere from 71 percent to 84 percent don’t know enough to form an opinion.

“It’s deja-vu all over again as Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and 2010 Republican standard-bearer Tom Foley remain locked in a dead heat,” said Douglas Schwartz, PhD.

“One week before the Republican Convention, Foley is still the clear frontrunner. Mayor Mark Boughton, State Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney and the rest of the pack are running way behind. Those trying to catch Foley are still struggling to gain name recognition.”

“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,” Dr. Schwartz added.

Malloy’s planned tax refund was a “campaign gimmick” which never should have been offered in the first place, Connecticut voters say 60 – 29 percent. But voters say 67 – 31 percent it is “fair to return some share of state revenues to taxpayers” when the state finances are good.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 18 percent of those who disapprove of the job Malloy is doing cite taxes as the main reason, while another 18 percent list the state budget or finances as 13 percent cite the economy or jobs.

Among those who approve of the job Malloy is doing, 13 percent cite his good job as governor and 9 percent list the state budget or finances.

Only 21 percent of voters say they are personally better off than they were four years ago, while 30 percent say they are worse off and 48 percent say they are about the same. The $1.5 billion tax hike Malloy signed three years ago to close the budget deficit hurt the state economy, 32 percent of voters say, while 21 percent say it helped and 39 percent say it made no difference.

Looking at Malloy’s character, Connecticut voters say 59 – 36 percent that he has strong leadership qualities, 57 – 33 percent that he is honest and trustworthy and 49 – 45 percent that he cares about their needs and problems.

Voters approve 45 – 39 percent of the way he is handling education, but give him negative grades for handling other issues:
• 35 – 53 percent for handling the budget;
• 32 – 61 percent for handling taxes;
• 38 – 55 percent for handling the economy and jobs.

“Economic issues are dragging Gov. Malloy down,” Dr. Schwartz said. “A bright spot for Malloy is that voters think he has strong leadership qualities and is honest and trustworthy.”

From May 1 – 6, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,668 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points. The survey includes 443 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percentage points. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones.