A new poll commissioned by Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley suggests Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is vulnerable to a challenge–and that Foley is the strongest GOP contender to unseat the Democratic governor.
The survey of 504 likely voters conducted March 18-20 found that 47 percent ”believe it is time for a new person” in the governor’s office and 37 percent ”believe that Malloy has done a good enough job to deserve re-election” in 2014, according to a memo accompanying the poll. (Memo here, keep clicking).
Malloy loyalists wasted little time in responding to Foley. “@TomFoleyCT until you have the guts to say whether or not you’d have signed the gun bill stop whining. too scared?” tweeted Roy Occhiogrosso.
Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic party, was similarly dismissive. “It appears that Tom Foley can find the time to further his political ambitions through shoddy polling, but not the time to say whether or not he would have supported the historic gun violence prevention bill the Governor signed into law last week,” DiNardo said in a statement.
“Even the Republicans in Washington are taking positions on this issue. Leadership is about taking a stand on the issues of our time. I guess his polling firm has not told him where he should stand on this issue just yet, but the people of Connecticut deserve an answer,” DiNardo said.
Not surprisingly, the poll found Foley, the Republican party’s 2010 gubernatorial nominee, with the strongest name recognition in the GOP field.
”Tom Foley has retained nearly his entire name ID from his 2010 candidacy, and remains very well-known with solid image ratings among Connecticut voters,” according to the poll memo. “Foley’s soft name ID is at eighty-nine percent (89%) with forty-eight percent (48%) favorable and twenty percent (20%) unfavorable. Only 11% of voters are unfamiliar with him. Foley’s 2.3 to 1 favorable to unfavorable ratio is quite strong compared to Malloy’s 1.5 to 1 favorable to unfavorable ratio.”
The poll found that two other potential Republican candidates, House Minority Leader Larry Cafero and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, have “no significant statewide name ID.” Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, who is also weighing a run, is better known, but mostly in the 4th Congressional District, which his father Stewart McKinney, represented in the U.S. House.
The survey was conducted by the Tarrance Group, a national Republican polling firm based in Virginia. According to the polling memo, “the margin of error associated with a sample of this type is plus 4.5 percent in 95 out of 100 cases.”
One Foley critic pointed this out: the Tarrance Group is the same polling firm that predicted just days before last year’s presidential election Mitt Romney would win.
“In sum, this data indicates this election remains very close on the surface, but the political environment and the composition of the likely electorate favor Governor Romney. These factors come into play with our ‘vote election model’ – which takes into account variables like vote intensity, voters who say they are definite in their vote, and demographics like age and education. In that snapshot of today’s vote model, Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by five-points – 52% to 47%. While that gap can certainly be closed by the ground game of the Democrats, reports from the field would indicate that not to be the case, and Mitt Romney may well be heading to a decisive victory.”