GOVERNOR'S RACE: New poll gives Malloy a lead over Foley

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

Under a new poll released Monday by Public Policy Polling (PPP), Malloy — a first-term Democrat — has an 8 percentage point lead over Republican challenger Foley in the upcoming election, a rematch of the 2010 election.

Malloy won the race four years ago by fewer than 10,000 votes. According to PPP, Malloy is polling at 43% with Foley coming in at 35% and independent Joe Visconti, who is running to Foley’s right, coming in at 9%.

Were Visconti not in the race, Malloy’s lead would shrink to 6 points, according to the poll.

Earlier poll better for Foley

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. The 2012 election was a particularly good year for Democrats, in general.

However, eyebrows are likely to be raised by the results, considering that most polls have found Foley with a lead and Malloy, at best, in a dead heat for the governor’s mansion.

This poll comes a month after findings from Quinnipiac University gave Foley a 46%-40% lead over 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.

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.

Strong disapproval of both candidates

In the PPP poll, Malloy has only 40% approval in the state, with 50% of respondents saying they disapprove of his job performance. Foley’s negatives are even higher, though, with only 34% holding a favorable opinion of him.

Malloy has run several ads sharply critical of Foley in recent weeks, tying him to opponents of the bipartisan gun law reforms passed in the wake of the Newtown massacre and to the Family Institute Connecticut, which has been criticized for its anti-gay and anti-contraceptive views. He also has gone after Foley’s record as a businessman.

Foley’s supporters have complained this is negative campaigning and Foley has called for an end to the ads as part of a “truce” against negative campaigning, an idea Malloy and his campaign aides has flatly rejected.

Democrats ahead in other races

The race is expected by many to be a close one, given how narrowly Malloy defeated Foley in 2010.

However, Democrats are favored to once again sweep the other statewide 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. All are Democratic incumbents.

More information about the poll is available online at