As Tom Foley’s negative ratings rise, Gov. Dannel Malloy is a bit closer to re-election, according to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll. But the rematch for the Connecticut governor’s mansion is still too close to call.

Democrat Malloy is locked in a repeat of the 2010 down-to-the-wire governor’s race as he holds 43% of likely voters to Republican challenger Tom Foley’s 42%, with 9% for independent candidate Joe Visconti, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning, Oct. 22.

“The race for Connecticut governor looks very much like it will go down to the wire — again,” said Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University poll.  “Republican Tom Foley has to be concerned that this is the first likely voter poll in which Gov. Dannel Malloy has a numerical edge, even though it’s razor-thin.”

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Quinnipiac Poll:

MALLOY — 43%

FOLEY — 42%

VISCONTI — 9%

UNDECIDED — 6%

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Other recent polls also have shown a close race, with some giving Foley an edge and some showing Malloy with a lead.

‘The lesser of two evils’

Both major party candidates have unfavorability ratings.

“The Connecticut race recently was rated the most negative in the nation, and voters are giving a thumbs down to both major party candidates,” Schwartz said.

“With voters not liking either candidate very much, some voters could just choose the lesser of two evils. The dislike of Malloy and Foley helps explain why independent candidate Joe Visconti is holding onto 9%, at least for now,” he said.

Earlier polls and 2010

The new poll compares to a 43%-43% dead heat among likely voters in an Oct. 8 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University. With Visconti out of the race, it’s a 45%-45% tie, according to the Hamden-based poll.

Four years ago, in a Quinnipiac Poll released on Oct. 26, 2010, Malloy led Foley 48%-43%, which was about one week closer to Election Day 2010 than today’s poll is to the Election Day 2014 on Nov. 4.

In 2010, Malloy defeated Foley in one of the closest elections in modern statewide history.

Don’t like Malloy or Foley

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,010 likely voters from Oct. 14-20.

Connecticut likely voters give both major party candidates negative favorability ratings:

— Malloy gets a negative 42%-50% favorability, virtually unchanged from Oct. 8;

— Foley gets a negative 40%-46% favorability, down from his split 41%-39% score two weeks ago;

— 80% of voters still don’t know enough about Visconti to form an opinion, compared to an 86% “don’t know enough” rating two weeks ago.

“The other bad news for Tom Foley is that his favorability rating continues to tumble,” Schwartz said. “For the first time, more voters have a negative view of him than a positive view.”

“The good news for Foley is that Malloy’s favorability is actually slightly worse,” he said.

Visconti and independents

Independent voters are divided with 38% for Foley, 36% for Malloy and 16% for Visconti. Malloy tops Foley among Democrats, 81%-11%, with 4% for Visconti. Foley beats Malloy 85%-6% among Republicans, with 6% for Visconti.

“As expected, Democrats and Republicans are coming home with both Malloy and Foley winning at least 80% of their bases, but the independent voters are really up for grabs, with independent Joe Visconti now taking 16% of the independent vote,” Schwartz added.

Gender gap and the undecided

The gender gap is wide in the three-way race as Malloy leads Foley 51%-32% among women, with 9% for Visconti, while Foley leads Malloy 53%-34% among men, with 9% for Visconti.

With 13 days until the election, 81% of Connecticut likely voters who name a candidate say their mind is made up, while 18% say they might change their mind.  Their minds are made up, say 86% of Malloy voters and 84% of Foley backers, while 49% of Visconti supporters say they might change their mind.

The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts public opinion surveys in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.