A Democratic leaning polling company’s first Connecticut poll of the 2014 season has Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy with an 8 point lead over Republican challenger Tom Foley with independent Joe Visconti receiving 9 percent of the vote.

In a straight match-up between Malloy and Foley without Visconti, Public Policy Polling found Malloy holds a six point lead over Foley.

Unlike the Quinnipiac University poll released in early September, the Public Policy poll found Visconti is largely drawing voters away from Foley.

This is the first public poll of likely voters since last week’s two debates.

It found Malloy has a negative approval rating with 40 percent of voters approving of the job he’s doing and 50 percent disapproving. It also found Foley’s numbers are somewhat worse with just 34 percent of voters holding a favorable opinion to 49 percent with an unfavorable one.

“The race for Governor in Connecticut seems to be moving in Dan Malloy’s direction as the election nears,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said. “Malloy was trailing in polling earlier this year, but voters in the state really don’t care for Tom Foley.”

The poll also found that Malloy was winning 17 percent more Republicans than Foley is winning Democratic voters, “ which makes it very hard for a Republican to be successful in a state where Democrats have a substantial registration advantage,” according to a blog post by Public Policy Polling.

The poll also found that the Democratic Party would continue to hold onto the state’s constitutional offices. Attorney General George Jepsen leads Kie Westby by 15 points, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is up nine points over Peter Lumaj, Treasurer Denise Nappier is up 8 points over her Republican challenger Tim Herbst, and state Comptroller Kevin Lembo is up five points over Sharon McLaughlin.

“Democrats are headed for a sweep up and down the ballot in Connecticut this fall,” a press release on the poll said.

The poll surveyed 861 likely voters between Oct. 2 and Oct. 5. The poll has a 3.3 percent margin of error. Eighty percent of the interviews for the poll were conducted over the phone with 20 percent done over the Internet to reach those who don’t have landline telephones.