Christine Stuart file photo

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows US Senator Chris Dodd trailing his Republican challengers if the 2010 election were held today.

According to the poll Dodd trails Republican Rob Simmons 50 to 34 percent, state Sen. Sam Caligiuri 41 to 37 percent and former ambassador Tom Foley 43 to 35 percent.

A total of 35 percent of voters said they definitely or probably will vote for Dodd for reelection next year, while 59 percent say they probably won’t or definitely won’t vote for him.

“A 33 percent job approval is unheard of for a 30-year incumbent, especially a Democrat in a blue state,” Doug Schwartz, Quinnipiac’s poll director said in a press release. “Sen. Christopher Dodd’s numbers among Democrats are especially devastating. Since the AIG controversy, his approval rating among Democrats is down to 51 percent, and only 58 percent of Democrats say they will vote for him against Simmons, who at this point is the best known and strongest Republican challenger.”

Voters in the poll said 50 to 43 percent that Dodd has strong leadership qualities, but they say 54 to 32 percent that he is not honest and trustworthy and 52 to 39 percent that he does not care about their needs and problems.

“Voters won’t vote for you if they don’t trust you. Dodd must find a way to regain the trust of Connecticut voters, and do it before a Republican challenger – and maybe a Democratic primary challenger – gains too much momentum,” Schwartz said.

Most voters, 59 percent, are angry that AIG paid bonuses to some executives, while 33 percent were “bothered but not angry.”

Gov. Jodi Rell gets a 72 to 22 percent approval rating, including 65 to 30 percent among Democrats.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman gets a 46 to 47 percent split approval rating, but Democrats still disapprove of the Democrat turned independent giving him an approval rating of 63 to 31 percent.

The poll was conducted between March 26 and March 31 and 1,181 Connecticut registered voters were surveyed. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.