New poll shows Malloy surge, race with Foley now in a dead heat

Tom Foley, seen here surrounded by supporters and family before voting in the summer's primary, is now locked in a tie with incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy according to a new poll. — John Ferris Robben photo

Tom Foley, seen here surrounded by supporters and family before voting in the summer’s primary, is now locked in a tie with incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy according to a new poll. — John Ferris Robben photo

In a race that has shifted dramatically in the last week, there was more bad news for Greenwich Republican Tom Foley on Wednesday as a new poll now has him tied with Gov. Dan Malloy.

Mr. Foley is facing off with Mr. Malloy in a rematch of their 2010 race that Mr. Foley lost narrowly. And before this week, polls consistently had him enjoying a lead in the race. But now a new poll has him losing ground to the incumbent. Quinnipiac University released its latest poll Wednesday, showing a tie between the two men. This comes days after a poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) put Mr. Malloy ahead by eight points in the tightly contested race as both sides blitz the airwaves with ads,

While this poll has better results for Mr. Foley than the PPP findings, it represents a decline for Mr. Foley who had been leading a Quinnipiac poll by six points just last month. In this new poll, the Connecticut-based polling organization, had the two tied with 43% each and conservative independent candidate Jo Visconti drawing the support of 9% of potential voters.

If Mr. Visconti dropped out of the race, Mr. Malloy and Mr. Foley would still be tied with 46% each, according the Q-Poll, meaning that the election could be headed to another photo finish like there was in 2010 as Mr. Malloy won the closest gubernatorial election in the state’s history. Just a few weeks ago, confidence was extremely high at the Greenwich Republican Town Committee’s annual clambake but now it looks as though Republicans have a real battle on their hands to win a race they once thought they had in their back pocket.

And while Mr. Malloy is still considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent governors in the country, the momentum could well be on his side now with less than a month before the election. In the last four weeks, Mr. Malloy has cut Mr. Foley’s lead among men from 19% to 11%, while the Democrat’s lead among women grows from 7% to 11%.

In today’s three-way matchup, women back Mr. Malloy 47% to 36%, with 10% for Mr. Visconti, while men back Mr. Foley 50% to 39%, with 8% for Mr. Visconti. Mr. Foley leads 82%-9% among Republicans, with 6% for Mr. Visconti, and 47%-37% among independent voters, with 11% for Visconti. Democrats back Mr. Malloy 77%-9%, with 9% for Visconti.

Among Connecticut likely voters who name a candidate, 74% say their mind is made up, while 25% say they might change their mind by Election Day. Their minds are made up, say 73% of Mr. Malloy voters and 81% of Mr. Foley backers, while 56% of Visconti supporters say they might change their mind.

“The poll is good news for Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. After trailing Republican Tom Foley by 6 points a month ago, Malloy is tied as this race promises to go down to the wire,” said Douglas Schwartz, PhD, director of the Quinnipiac University poll.

“Malloy has been able to cut into Foley’s lead among men while increasing his lead among women, to break even over all. There is a gender gap in the race with Malloy ahead by 11 percentage points among women and Foley up 11 points among men,” Dr. Schwartz said. “While there are only 5% of likely voters undecided, 25% of voters could still change their minds.

“It looks like we’re heading for another photo finish — just like in 2010.”

One thing that has been consistent in recent polls, are high negatives hurting both candidates. This new poll confirms that Connecticut likely voters are not overly fond of any of the candidates:

• Mr. Malloy gets a negative 41%-51% favorability, compared to his negative 40%-53% grade on Sept. 10;

• Mr. Foley gets a split 41%-39% favorability, compared to a positive 42%-33% rating last month;

• 86% of voters still don’t know enough about Mr. Visconti to form an opinion, little changed from his 89% “don’t know enough” rating last month.

“As the campaign has gotten nasty, voters are not wild about either candidate,” Dr. Schwartz said. “Malloy’s favorability rating is still underwater. Foley gets a mixed favorability rating. He is a little better known since early September, but a little less liked.

“Voters like Foley less since our last poll. Foley’s negatives have risen perhaps due to Malloy’s attacks.”

From Oct. 1-6, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,085 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3%.

This poll is the second this week to give fresh life to the Malloy campaign. According to PPP, Mr. Malloy is polling at 43% with Mr. Foley coming in at 35% and Mr. Visconti coming in at 9%. Were Mr. Visconti not in the race, Mr. Malloy’s lead would shrink to six points the poll found.

This was 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.

You can download the complete poll results here: Connecticut Governor’s Quinnipiac Poll Oct. 8, 2014

Post editor Ken Borsuk contributed to this article.


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