With one Republican challenger beating him by 11 points, another by seven, and yet another by two, U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd has to be wondering what more he can do to improve his poll numbers in Connecticut.
Since the last Quinnipiac University poll in September Dodd’s approval ratings have gotten worse and 53 percent of voters surveyed believe he does not deserve to be re-elected.
“The anti-Dodd chorus has gotten louder,” Poll Director Doug Schwartz said Thursday at a Capitol press conference.
“Only 39 percent of Connecticut voters say Senator Dodd is honest and trustworthy,” Schwartz said. “Voters are not going to vote for you if they don’t trust you so this continues to be a problem that has been plaguing Senator Dodd for the last year or so.”
The poll also shows voters willing to support a Republican candidate they don’t know much about. “A.B.D. anybody but Dodd,” Schwartz said describing the trend in the poll results. “At least for more than 40 percent of Connecticut voters, they tell us they’ll vote for anyone, even Republicans that they haven’t heard of.”
The poll also found that while President Barack Obama remains popular, his visit to Connecticut on behalf of Dodd didn’t seem to make a difference. Seventy-five percent of voters said Obama’s visit didn’t make a difference, while seven percent said it made them more likely to vote for Dodd and 17 percent said it made them less likely to vote for Dodd.
In response to Thursday’s poll numbers Dodd’s campaign sent out a statement seeming to question the validity of the poll.
“We’ll see lots of polls over the course of this campaign, some accurate, and some not,” Colleen Flanagan, Connecticut Democratic Party Communications Director, said in a statement. “In truth, we have a hard time believing Chris Dodd has done anything but strengthen his political position.”
“We’re not taking this poll particularly seriously, and Chris Dodd will continue to do his job every single day on behalf of the people he was elected to represent,” Flanagan added.
“Generally speaking when candidates don’t like the numbers they criticize the poll,” Schwartz said Thursday.
At least three of Dodd’s five Republican challengers should be happy with the results of Thursday’s poll results.
Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons is still the Republican frontrunner beating Dodd by 11 points and garnering 28 percent of the support in a Republican primary.
Linda McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment executive who says she is willing to spend $30 to $50 million of her own money on the race, would beat Dodd 43 to 41 percent. The two percentage points are within the margin of error for the poll, however, it was the first time the poll asked about McMahon’s candidacy.
“We are pleased and encouraged with the results of this poll,” McMahon’s spokesman Ed Patru said in a statement. “In less than two months since Linda became a candidate for the U.S. Senate, she has risen from a virtual unknown, to a serious contender in this primary contest.”
“Linda McMahon really has cut into Rob Simmons’ lead in the Republican primary,” Schwartz said Thursday. “Before McMahon’s entrance he dominated.”
“Today’s polling shows that despite millions spent by other candidates on advertising, which Rob Simmons has yet to air, he stands alone as the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination and is the only GOP candidate holding a commanding lead in a head-to-head challenge against Senator Dodd,” Simmons Campaign Manager Jim Barnett said in a statement.
If the Republican primary were held today, the poll says Simmons would receive 28 percent of the vote, McMahon 17 percent, Foley 9 percent, state Sen. Sam Caligiuri 4 percent, and Peter Schiff 5 percent.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley trails McMahon in the Republican primary, but would beat Dodd by 7 points in the general election.
“The poll confirms what we already know from Tom traveling around Connecticut: Tom has momentum on his side as voters get to know him and he can beat Chris Dodd,” Foley Campaign Manager Gregg Keller said in a statement. “People are looking for a leader who they can trust to cut wasteful spending, create jobs and get our economy moving again.”
The poll also showed that Dodd doesn’t have to worry about the challenger from his own party. According to the poll Dodd would easily win the Democratic primary with 55 percent of the vote.
Merrick Alpert, Dodd’s Democratic opponent, received 22 percent of the primary vote in the poll.
“He doesn’t seem to be in any danger in terms of a primary, it’s the general election,” Schwartz said.