The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Connecticut’s race for governor is a dead heat with Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy closing last month’s six point lead held by Republican challenger Tom Foley.
The poll of 1,085 likely voters released Wednesday found Malloy and Foley tied with 43 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Third-party candidate Joe Visconti takes 9 percent of the vote. And like a month ago, the poll found Visconti is not playing the role of spoiler because he takes votes from Malloy and Foley at the same rate.
“The poll is good news for Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said. “After trailing Republican Tom Foley by 6 points a month ago, Malloy is tied as this race promises to go down to the wire.”
In the past month, Malloy cut Foley’s lead among men from 19 to 11 points while his lead among women voters grew from 7 to 11 points. Men still back Foley 50-39 percent, with 8 percent for Visconti.
“There is a gender gap in the race with Malloy ahead by 11 percentage points among women and Foley up 11 points among men,” Schwartz said.
And each candidate still has time to convince voters.
“While there are only 5 percent of likely voters undecided, 25 percent of voters could still change their minds. It looks like we’re heading for another photo finish — just like in 2010,” Schwartz added.
The poll also found that voters don’t necessarily like either candidate. Malloy has a negative favorability rating with 41 percent approving of the job he’s doing and 51 percent disapproving. But Foley doesn’t score much better with voters. Foley’s favorability rating is split with 41 percent approving and 39 percent disapproving. Last month, the poll found 42 percent approved and only 33 percent disapproved of the former ambassador to Ireland.
“Malloy’s favorability rating is still underwater,” Schwartz said. “Foley gets a mixed favorability rating. He is a little better known since early September, but a little less liked.”
Schwartz said he couldn’t say for certain if Foley’s favorability dropped because of the debates or negative advertisements.
“The poll doesn’t say why,” Schwartz added. However, he speculated that it’s because Malloy has gone after Foley in the debates and that’s “helped contribute to a rise in negatives for Foley.”
And while the race has gotten better for Malloy “it’s not because they like him more, it’s because they like Foley less,” Schwartz said.
The poll is more good news for Malloy, even if it was unexpected.
On Tuesday a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association warned reporters in an email that Quinnipiac University is having trouble identifying “likely voters.”
“It’s worth noting the organization’s significant and ongoing challenges in accurately identifying an accurate sample of likely voters, and therefore capturing the state of races across the country,” Danny Kanner, a spokesman for the DGA, wrote.
It also comes on the heels of a Public Policy Polling survey, which found Malloy is up 8 points over Foley in a three-way race.
The polls was conducted Oct. 1-6 and has a 3 percent margin of error.