The conservative Yankee Institute released a poll of 500 likely voters Tuesday that shows Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s job approval rating hovering at 42 percent in the wake of his first legislative session. In February the same group released a poll that found Malloy’s approval rating at 50 percent.
The two-year budget the General Assembly adopted and Malloy signed into law May 4 included the largest tax increase in the state’s history.
“You can choose to be popular or you can choose to lead,” Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior communications adviser, said. “The last two governors chose to focus on popularity, and you can see where that left Connecticut. Gov. Malloy is choosing to lead, and in making the tough decisions now, he’s confident our state will be in better shape when he leaves office than it was when he took office.”
The one-day poll conducted June 9—the day after the legislative session— has a 4.5 percent margin of error.
Fifty-seven percent of voters agreed the new state budget agreement “spends too much and raises taxes too much,” while 39 percent said it was “about as good as could be expected given a weak economy.” On the $1.6 billion labor union concessions, 49 percent of voters said state employee unions “did not give up enough and should have been asked for more,” while 36 percent said “the unions did give up a lot.”
Voters also weren’t crazy about spending taxpayer dollars on some large infrastructure projects such as the Hartford to New Britain Busway or expansion of the University of Connecticut Health Center.
By a margin of 60 to 30 percent voters said the busway was a “bad” use of taxpayer money while 56 to 25 percent said the UConn Health Center was also a “bad” use of taxpayer dollars.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal did well in the poll with a 61 percent job approval rating. He was followed by President Barack Obama with a 55 percent approval rating, and U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman with a 52 percent approval rating.
Voters still aren’t sure what to make of former U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon who 48 percent of voters found unfavorable and 47 percent found favorable. Republican Tom Foley, who Malloy beat by a slim margin of more than 6,000 votes, had an even lower approval rating of 41 percent. And the more liberal candidate in the race for the U.S. Senate, Congressman Chris Murphy received a 48 percent approval rating in the poll.
The sampling of 500 likely voters included 77 percent white voters, 12 percent black voters, and 11 percent described only as “other.” The polling sample also included 26 percent of voters identifying themselves as Republicans and 40 percent identifying themselves as Democrats, while 34 percent were described as only “other” in the polling materials.