QU Poll: Foley, Clear GOP Frontrunner, In Dead Heat With Malloy

The poll sheds light on where Connecticut voters stand so far in the race for governor. Did QU get it right?

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, left, and Tom Foley, a Republican candidate for governor. Credit: Patch File Photo
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, left, and Tom Foley, a Republican candidate for governor. Credit: Patch File Photo
Republican candidates for governor have their work cut if they want to have a shot at beating out party favorite Tom Foley and secure a chance to go head-to-head against Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the Democrat incumbent, according to a new poll.

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
Your Take?

What do you read into this poll?
REVMAN March 28, 2014 at 01:13 PM
John Adams-As of the end of 2012, there were 179,092 active pistol permits in Connecticut. I could not find how many hunting Licenses sold and now count how many Vets that own a weapon it looks like if YOU don't own one your in the minority or a bleeding heart liberal.
Connie March 29, 2014 at 08:49 PM
As a Conservative Republican I would not vote for Foley. I don't like Malloy but Foley is too liberal. I would like Dean or Rep Larry Cafero to run against Malloy. This is why Republicans don't win in this state, they want to be too liberal like the Democrats. The Democrats did not change they were always too liberal. The party heads of Republicans endorse candidates that don't stand for what they believe in anymore. They endorse losers whose platform will make everyone happy, no moral issues, no controversial issues. They make me sick. They want the wimpy way out and that does not make them win either. The Republicans need to get some backbone and faith in something other then themselves, like God.
dick haumann March 29, 2014 at 08:53 PM
Connie...so true....like our Fed leaders...but then again...nothing seems to stick on them either....AND REVMAN....not really about gun control ...it's about HIPPA and mental illness that good gun owning citizens can't protect themselves from.
KEVIN DILLON April 02, 2014 at 07:08 PM
Nothing against Foley, but I'd rather not crown him the Republican representative in early April. My guess is it will come down to him, Boughton and McKinney. Most of the electorate, I'm talking about those who will take the time to pay attention to issues and listen to the plans of each candidate to make CT competitive again, are unaware of where these three stand on the issues. Let's hear what they all have to say before we lay the crown on one candidate. I will support the Republican candidate regardless of who that will be. Malloy has used the Democrat playbook. Raise taxes, keep spending and somehow the government will create jobs. His game plan will not change. He will double down on it. This has not worked anywhere. You don't need to believe me. Here is a quote from George McGovern, former Dem presidential candidate, hardly a right winger, who bought and renovated a hotel in Stratford in 1988 only to see it go out of business in two years: McGovern reflected on his experience in the Wall Street Journal: “My business associates and I lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never have doubted the worthiness of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: ‘Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape.’ It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.” 26 years laters nothing has changed in the Democratic party. Which is why any city that has been under Democrat control for any period of time is mired in red tape.


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