Poll gives Malloy a boost over Foley

Gov. Tom Foley? Not so fast, according to a new poll that puts incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy in the lead and represents a rather large break from previous measures of the upcoming gubernatorial race.

Under a new poll released Monday, Oct. 6, by Public Policy Polling (PPP), Mr. Malloy has an eight-percentage-point lead over his Republican challenger Mr. Foley in the upcoming election, a rematch of the 2010 election that Mr. Malloy won by fewer than 10,000 votes. According to PPP, Mr. Malloy is polling at 43% with Mr. Foley coming in at 35% and independent Joe Visconti, who is running to Mr. Foley’s right, coming in at 9%. Were Mr. Visconti not in the race, Mr. Malloy’s lead would shrink to six points.

This is PPP’s first poll of Connecticut for the year, and while PPP polls are thought to lean toward Democrats, it had an enviable record of predicting races in 2012, with a Fordham University ranking finding it to be the most accurate pollster of that year’s elections.

However, eyebrows are likely to be raised by the results, considering that most polls have found Mr. Foley with a lead and Mr. Malloy, at best, in a dead heat in the race for the governor’s mansion. This poll comes a month after findings from Quinnipiac University that gave Mr. Foley a 46% to 40% percent lead over Mr. Malloy among likely voters. That poll did find that there was a 30% group that could potentially change its mind before Election Day, putting the race very much in flux.

Mr. Visconti also ranked high in that poll, pulling in 7% support, according to Quinnipiac, which could be a sign of growing dissatisfaction with both candidates. In the PPP poll, Mr. Malloy has only 40% approval in the state, with 50% of respondents saying they disapprove of his job performance. Mr. Foley’s negatives are even higher, though, with only 34% holding a favorable opinion of him.

Mr. Malloy has run several ads sharply critical of Mr. Foley in recent weeks, tying him to opponents of the bipartisan gun law reforms passed in the wake of the Newtown shooting and to the Family Institute Connecticut, which has been strongly criticized for its anti-gay and anti-contraceptive views. Mr. Foley’s supporters have criticized this as negative campaigning and Mr. Foley has called for an end to the ads as part of a “truce” against negative campaigning, an idea Mr. Malloy has rejected.

The race is expected by many to be a close one, given how narrowly Mr. Malloy defeated Mr. Foley in 2010. However, Democrats are expected to once again sweep the state office races, and the PPP poll found leads for Attorney General George Jepsen, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Treasurer Denise Nappier, and Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

More information about the poll is available online at Publicpolicypolling.com/main/2014/10/malloy-leads-by-8-in-connecticut-governors-race.html