The latest Quinnipiac poll shows bad news for Gov. Dannel Malloy. It shows him and 2010 Republican nominee Tom Foley deadlocked at 43 percent. His approval rating is 48 percent while 44 percent said he deserves re-election and 48 percent said he does not. So he should quit now and start calling Washington for a job in the Obama administration, right? Forgive the governor if he’s not hitting the panic button just yet. Just look to 2010 to understand why.
Malloy had a serious challenger in the 2010 Democratic primary in Ned Lamont. Just before primary election day, a Quinnipiac poll should have had him shaking in his boots. The headline on the August 9, 2010 read, “Dem Gov Primary Too Close To Call As Malloy Closes, Quinnipiac University Connecticut Poll Finds…” As the state braced for what should have been a long election night in the neck and neck battle, Malloy blew the Flint and Tinders off Lamont by 16 points. That’s right, 16 points in a the Q-poll said was too close to call.
None of this is to suggest Malloy doesn’t have work to do to win a second term. The state economy is not where he’d like it to be. The budget is still a bit of a mess to say the least. And he has failing-public-schools advocate Jonathan “Status Quo” Pelto begging for signatures to get on the ballot. But Malloy knows all this and will address it going forward. He’s a masterful politician.
Five months is several lifetimes in politics. Although Tom Foley has a healthy lead in the polls, it’s mostly due to name recognition. It certainly can’t be because of his skillful entrance into the race. He lobbed ethics charges at Malloy out of the gate and accomplished nothing except offending the news media by suggesting he could (but wouldn’t) back up his charges “to journalistic standards.”
Foley will also have to answer questions about his position(s) on gun control. He’s been on the fence and it hurts. He has said he would veto any new gun control laws as governor but would not seek to overturn the existing ones. Not exactly a profile in courage. At least he’s not alone on the issue.
So far, Foley has run a “Rose Garden campaign” but his only incumbency is that of winning the GOP nomination in 2010. He has refused to participate in any candidate forums or debates leaving the door open for impressive upstarts like Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton who has been on top of all things Malloy.
They say polls are simply a snapshot in time. With five months to go and a long, hot political summer ahead, political polls simply mean nothing.