Fueled by a shift among independent Connecticut likely voters, Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley now has 42 percent to Democrat Dan Malloy’s 45 percent, making the race too close to call, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 50 – 41 percent Malloy lead in a September 15 likely voter survey by the poll, conducted by live interviewers.

Malloy’s top strategist Roy Occhiogrosso says his candidate has heard this story before. “We pay no attention to these polls. This is the same poll that had us down 3 points the day before the primary—a race Dan won by 14. This was always going to be a close, tough race. we think in the end voters will choose the guy who turned a city around by creating jobs, holding the line on taxes, and cleaning up the streets – over the guy whose experience consists of making millions of dollars by laying people off and taking away their healthcare benefits.”

In today’s survey, 12 percent of likely voters are undecided and 22 percent of voters who name a candidate say they could change their mind by Election Day. Malloy leads 86 – 8 percent among Democrats. Foley leads 82 – 9 percent among Republicans. Independent voters shift from a 42 – 44 percent split September 15 to 44 – 38 percent for Foley today. Women back the Democrat 52 – 34 percent while men back the Republican 49 – 38 percent.

Offered four choices to describe their feelings about Connecticut government:
• 1 percent say enthusiastic;
• 33 percent say satisfied;
• 47 percent say dissatisfied;
• 18 percent say angry.
Voters who say they are “angry” with state government support Foley 60 – 29 percent.

“Ever since the popular Republican Governor Jodi Rell decided not to seek reelection, Democrats have been very excited about their prospects of winning this open seat in blue Connecticut. Yet despite a bruising primary victory, Republican businessman Tom Foley has made this a very tight race with Democrat Dan Malloy,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD.

“Like Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, Foley has been capitalizing on the anti-government feeling. Also, both McMahon and Foley have been gaining due to the support of independent voters,” Dr. Schwartz added.“Similar to the Senate race, there is a big gender gap with women backing Malloy and men backing Foley.

“The last time there was a Connecticut governor’s race this tight was 16 years ago when there was an open seat and Republican John Rowland beat Democrat William Curry by just 3 points. With about a third of voters still persuadable, the upcoming debates could be decisive.”

Connecticut likely voters have a 39 – 27 percent favorable opinion of Malloy, with 31 percent who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. Foley gets a 34 – 25 percent favorability, with 36 percent who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

Despite their dissatisfaction and anger with Connecticut government, likely voters approve 59 – 33 percent of the job Gov. Jodi Rell is doing.

The 79 percent of likely voters who have seen Foley’s TV ads split 45 – 46 percent on whether they are informative or annoying.

Malloy does only slightly better as 80 percent of voters have seen his ads and 49 percent find them informative while 43 percent find them annoying.
From September 21 – 26, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,083 Connecticut likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.