Christine Stuart file photo
US Sen. Chris Dodd (Christine Stuart file photo)

(Updated 11:45 a.m.) A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows that U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd continues to trail at least one of his Republican challengers.

The poll shows the incumbent Dodd trailing former Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons 48 percent to 39 percent.

None of the other Republican challengers seem to come close to Simmons. Amongst Republican voters polled Simmons leads former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley 42 percent to 5 percent and state Sen. Sam Caligiuri 42 percent to 5 percent. There are still about 45 percent who are undecided.

The poll numbers show that Dodd has gained Democratic support, but lost independent support since the last poll on May 27. Also Dodd’s approval rating has improved slightly with 42 percent of voters approving of the job he’s doing, up from 38 percent in May.

The poll found that if the election were held today and the match up was between Dodd and Foley both would receive 42 percent of the vote. In a match up between Dodd and Caligiuri, Dodd faired a little better beating him 42 percent to 40 percent.

As for Dodd’s Democratic opponent, Dodd leads Merrick Alpert 52 to 18 percent in a Democratic primary.

“Sen. Dodd’s numbers among Democrats are back to where they used to be with over 70 percent of Democrats approving of his job performance and backing his reelection bid,” Poll Director Doug Schwartz said Thursday at a Capitol press conference.

“There are signs of hope for Sen. Dodd,” Schwartz said. “His approval rating is up four points from the last poll and up nine points from the February poll.”

“But he still is struggling with Independents, who will be harder to win back than his own partisans,” he said.

Colleen Flanagan, spokeswoman for the Democratic State Central Committee said Thursday that the election is still 15 months away and that’s plenty of time for Dodd to take the lead. She said in July 2007 Hillary Clinton was still beating President Barack Obama in the polls by 16 points.

The best way for Dodd to improve his numbers is to do his job, which is exactly what he plans on doing, Flanagan said.

While it looks like Simmons is clearly the early frontrunner in the campaign, Flanagan said there’s plenty of time for that to change.

Schwartz said when compared directly to Dodd some of the other Republican candidates, like Foley, Caligiuri, and Peter Schiff may be getting the “not Dodd vote.” He said Simmons numbers show he’s getting a little more than the generic “not Dodd vote.”

“We are pleased that, at this early point in the campaign, Tom is running well against Sen. Dodd despite the fact that he is not yet well-known among voters,” Gregg Keller, Foley’s campaign manager, said in an email. “Tom will be spending the remainder of the summer traveling around the state listening to the views of, and getting to know, voters all around Connecticut.”

Simmons, who seems to have pulled away from the rest of the Republican candidates, said, “I’m pleased and humbled by the popular support I’m receiving from every corner of Connecticut, but recognize that polls will go up and down.”

“My goal is to continue building a strong grassroots movement to restore decency and common sense to Washington, and I will continue working hard to take my message of service above self to every voter,” Simmons said in an emailed statement.

The survey of 1,499 voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.