Sixty-seven percent of voters believe Gov. Dannel P. Malloy handles a crisis well. Whether it’s the Newtown shooting or a blizzard, Malloy gets high marks from voters in Tuesday’s Quinnipiac University poll, which found the governor’s approval rating at an all-time high of 48 percent — up 5 points from a week ago.
The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,144 voters shows that by a 48-39 percent margin, voters approve of how Malloy is handling his job and gun control issues. But 45 percent of those polled don’t believe he should be re-elected while an estimated 42 percent believe he should be re-elected.
Meanwhile, 76 percent of voters approve of how he handled the Newtown shootings and 80 percent approve of his response to the February blizzard, but many said they don’t necessarily agree with his handling of the budget.
“It’s always a danger sign when an incumbent is below 50 percent on that re-elect measure,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Doug Schwartz said. “He also does poorly on economic matters. Voters disapprove of the way he’s handling the economy, budget, and taxes.”
In just one week, Malloy’s approval rating jumped 5 percent. The biggest bump in Malloy’s approval rating came from women and Democrats, two groups that support gun control, Schwartz said.
“My take on it is that Gov. Malloy is doing better in our poll compared to last week because he’s on the right side of public opinion in this gun control debate,” Schwartz added. “There is sort of a cumulative effect between his handling of recent crisis, as well as the gun control debate.”
Fifty-seven percent of voters disapprove of how Malloy is handling the budget while just 33 percent approve. But he gets high marks for his handling of education, with 45 percent of voters approving — about seven points higher than the last time the question was asked back in April 2012.
It’s no surprise that 61 percent of voters disapprove of the way Malloy handles tax policy. Malloy was the architect of the second highest tax increase in the state’s history in 2011. But voters surveyed still believe he’s likeable. According to the poll, 53 percent believe Malloy has a likeable personality and 36 percent believe he does not.
Malloy has yet to announce he’s running for re-election even though he has hinted at a second term.
The governor still gets higher marks than the Democrat-controlled General Assembly. An estimated 47 percent of voters disapprove of the way the legislature is handling its job, which is down slightly from a high of 57 percent in September 2011.
By a 49-27 percent margin, voters trust Democrats more than Republicans on gun policy, but they still are divided 48-47 percent on whether the governor and the legislature will be able to get something done to reduce gun violence this year.
“Connecticut voters by wide margins want action on gun-control, but they have less confidence that the State Legislature will deliver on this issue,” Schwartz said. “Voters trust Democrats more than Republicans on gun-control and overall they dislike Democrats less than they dislike Republicans.”
This is the second time in less than a week that the university polled the issue of gun control. The results were almost identical to the March 6 poll, which has been panned by pro-gun groups because it found 68-28 percent of voters approve of an expansion of the assault weapons ban. Today’s poll found support for the issue 71-26 percent. The poll sample included 25 percent of voters who identified themselves as gun owners.
Voters are still divided about whether the legislature will be able to reach a bipartisan agreement on the issue. Forty-eight percent believe they’ll get something done, while 47 percent are skeptical.
On taxes, voters are divided about whether to eliminate the car tax. Forty-five percent oppose the idea and 44 percent support it. The opposition increases to 77 percent if voters are told their property taxes could increase as a result.
When it comes to raising the minimum wage, voters approved of the idea 75-22 percent, about the same as a poll last year that found support for the measure was 70-28 percent. Voters don’t support resurrecting highway tolls. About 58 percent disapprove of tolls, while 39 percent approve. But asked if they would support tolls if it meant gas taxes would decrease, voters approve 53-44 percent.