Christine Stuart file photo

(Updated 3:02 p.m.)Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is the early favorite in a Democratic primary for governor, according to the results of a new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday. 

“If the Democratic primary for governor were being held today and the candidates were Dan Malloy, Susan Bysiewicz and Jim Amann, for whom would you vote?”

Forty-four percent of Democrats polled answered Bysiewicz, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy followed with 12 percent and former Speaker of the House James Amann trailed the pack with 4 percent.

“Secretary of State Bysiewicz runs best in a potential Democratic primary, partly due to name recognition,” Poll Director Doug Schwartz said in a press release. “Even though Amann was the former State House Speaker and Mayor Malloy ran a strong race for the Democratic nomination for Governor last time around, both are largely unknown to voters.”

“I think a lot of it has to do with name recognition at this point,” Schwartz said at a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday morning. However, Gov. M. Jodi Rell would easily win re-election based on the poll results. All three Democratic candidates trail Rell by between 21 and 40 points, he said.

Malloy’s campaign responded to the poll by sending out a statement.

“When I ran for Governor in 2006, there wasn’t a single public poll that showed me within shouting distance of my Democratic opponent—yet I won the Democratic Convention and came within a few thousand votes of winning the Democratic primary,” Malloy said. “Almost two years in advance of Election Day, the conversation among Democrats about who is best-positioned to win the general election in 2010 has just begun, and it’s a conversation I’m eager to have.”

Amann, who will officially announce his candidacy tomorrow in Bridgeport, said Tuesday afternoon that he is not worried about the recent Quinnipiac poll numbers saying “it’s much too early to read anything meaningful into it.” 

“As in the case of Dick Blumenthal, I don’t think the governor will run. That will clear the way for us to pick up Rell supporters as we move forward,” Amann said. Blumenthal has already said he would seek another term as attorney general instead of running for governor.

And despite the budget address Gov. M. Jodi Rell delivered last week, the Republican governor remains popular with voters. Rell’s job approval rating shows 75 percent of voters approve of the job she is doing.

“Rell even gets a 67 – 23 percent approval for handling the economy,” Schwartz said. “You could call her the Teflon governor.”

And as far as taxes are concerned, 67 percent of those polled approve of cutting services, while just 23 percent approve of raising taxes, the poll found.

Connecticut’s two United States Senators don’t fair as well as Rell in this poll of 1,603 voters.

Forty-eight percent of voters disapprove of the job US Sen. Chris Dodd is doing compared to the 41 percent who approve. And a whopping 51 percent say they probably won’t vote for Dodd in 2010.

At least 54 percent of voters polled said they are not satisfied with his explanation of the Countrywide mortgage situation and 56 percent are less likely to vote for him because of it.

“When the time comes, Senator Dodd will be ready with a vigorous, well funded re-election campaign. Now is the time for leadership and that is why Senator Dodd is focused on helping Connecticut families get out of this economic crisis and hardship,” Bryan DeAngelis, Dodd’s spokesman, said Tuesday in response to the poll.

Forty-eight percent of voters also disapprove of the job independent US Sen. Joseph Lieberman is doing, while about 45 percent approve.

Click here to read all the poll results.