Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Friday he has not decided whether to seek re-election next year but suggested he has not been saving political capital to carry him into a second term.
“I don’t shy away from managing on a long-term basis in the hopes that the short term will take care of itself. I don’t expect to have any political capital lying around on any given day, week, month, year, term,” Malloy said Friday after a state Bond Commission meeting.
The governor was responding to a question regarding his 2014 re-election plans in light of a recent Quinnipiac University poll that indicated he was currently about 3 points behind his 2010 Republican rival Tom Foley.
Malloy was quick to dismiss the significance of the poll. The survey was an early take on an election that is still 17 months away.
“I will remind you that approximately at this point three years ago, that poll had me down [to] my Democratic opponent by 22 points. I won the primary by 16,” he said.
Asked if his answer implied an intention to run again, Malloy said “No. I think decisions are yet to be made.”
This week’s poll found voters evenly split on the governor’s approval rating and about 44 percent said they believe he deserves to be re-elected. Forty-six percent said he did not. Since being elected Malloy has struggled to exceed a 50-percent favorability rating.
Although he said he does not comment on polls, Malloy said he has handled some polarizing issues in his first term.
“I’m a governor who got hired to turn this state around. I’ve had to make some really tough decisions in doing that,” he said.
Malloy said during his first term he worked to pass a controversial education reform package. He said the bill made him popular with some circles and unpopular in others. The poll indicated voters were split 43-43 percent on their opinion of his handling of education.
Voters surveyed largely disapproved — 57 to 35 — of the governor’s handling of the economy. Meanwhile, 79 percent thought the state’s economy was either getting worse or remaining the same. Malloy blamed a sluggish national recovery for the perception that the state’s economy has not improved. He said people are surprised when he points out that 36,000 have been created since he took office.
“The rough belief out there is that we’ve not created any jobs. We have created 36,000 private sector jobs at the same time that we have shrunk government. I would love people to understand that,” he said.
The governor said that for people who are unemployed, the state’s job growth has not been adequate. But he suggested the news media was responsible for the perception that no jobs had been created during his tenure.
“The banner headlines aren’t ‘36,000 jobs created,’ it’s ‘a company with 65 jobs is going to leave the state,’” he said.
Asked if his policies were at all responsible for the perception that job growth has been slow in Connecticut, Malloy chose instead to answer by taking credit for the jobs that have been created.
“I think our policies have absolutely contributed to the job growth in the state of Connecticut,” he said.