Christine Stuart file photo

If the election were held today, former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons would beat U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd for his seat, 43 to 42 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.

In a 2010 Dodd-Simmons match up, Democrats back Dodd 74 to 15 percent, while Simmons leads 80 to 10 percent amongst Republicans and 49 to 32 percent among independent voters.

“These numbers have to worry Sen. Christopher Dodd. Former Congressman Simmons is not well known outside his district yet he is running neck and neck with Dodd at this point,” Poll Director Doug Schwartz said in a press release.

“Simmons easily wins his former district. The good news for Dodd is that this is the first poll in a long time where Dodd’s job approval rating hasn’t dropped. It appears that Dodd’s slide may have ended,” Schwartz said.

Dodd, whose approval ratings were in the negative range on Feb. 10, have rebounded slightly. Connecticut voters approve 49 to 44 percent of the job Dodd is doing compared to the 41 to 48 percent approval rating he received on Feb. 10.

Dodd leads state Sen. Sam Caligiuri 47 to 34 percent and tops CNBC-TV host Larry Kudlow 46 to 34 percent, the poll also found.

Connecticut’s Gov. M. Jodi Rell maintains her 75 percent approval rating and the Democratic approval of the Republican governor at 69 to 23 percent is higher than the overall approval rating for any governor in any state polled by Quinnipiac this year. Voters also approve 61 to 28 percent of the way Rell is handling the state budget.

Voters also say 54 to 44 percent that liquor stores should be allowed to sell liquor on Sundays and say 58 to 37 percent that decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana is a good idea.

And Connecticut voters believe 63 to 32 percent that the state does not need a tax increase to balance the budget. Democrats say no new taxes 51 to 43 percent, while Republicans say no new taxes 79 to 19 percent and independent voters say 66 to 28 percent.

Voters do oppose tolls on the highway 61 to 35 percent.

The poll surveyed 1,238 Connecticut voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.