(Updated 12:21 p.m.) It’s been two weeks since Quinnipiac University polled the three-way governor’s race and there hasn’t been much movement in the tight 2010 rematch between Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican Tom Foley.
If the election were held today Malloy would receive 43 percent of the vote, Foley would receive 42 percent of the vote and third-party candidate Joe Visconti would receive 9 percent, according to the poll released Wednesday.
Fourteen days ago, Malloy and Foley were deadlocked with 43 percent of the vote. If Visconti dropped out of the race, it would still be a tie with Malloy and Foley each receiving 45 percent of the vote, according to the poll.
Unaffiliated voters, who make up the bulk of Connecticut’s electorate are divided with 38 percent going to Foley and 36 percent going to Malloy. About 16 percent of unaffiliated voters support Visconti.
“The movement in this race that we’ve seen is Foley’s lead among independents has dwindled now down to two points,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said Wednesday. “Previously he did have a double-digit lead among independents.”
Schwartz said the gender gap is interesting too because of the size.
Wednesday’s poll of 1,010 likely voters showed there’s still a gender gap where Malloy leads Foley 51 to 32 percent among women, while Foley leads Malloy 53 to 34 percent among men.
“Typically, you see a gender gap where men vote for the Republican candidate and women for the Democratic candidate, but it’s a really big gap,” Schwartz said. “You’ve got Malloy winning among women by 19 points and Foley winning among men by a similar 19 points. That is an unusually large gender gap. I haven’t seen that in other states.”
And as the election nears, the candidates are shoring up their base. Malloy tops Foley among Democrats, 81-11 percent, with 4 percent for Visconti. Foley beats Malloy 85-6 percent among Republicans, with 6 percent for Visconti, according to the poll.
Support for third-party candidates like Visconti traditionally goes down the closer the election gets, but Schwartz said that hasn’t happened yet for Visconti.
“He’s sort of defying history in that sense,” Schwartz said. “But there’s still two weeks to go and it would not surprise me to see his numbers go down.”
The poll also found that about 81 percent of voters have made up their mind about which candidate will get their vote on Nov. 4.
“The race for Connecticut governor looks very much like it will go down to the wire — again,” Schwartz said.
The subtle movement in the polls is not unexpected as Election Day draws near.
“Democrats and Republicans are coming home with both Malloy and Foley winning at least 80 percent of their bases, but the independent voters are really up for grabs, with independent Joe Visconti now taking 16 percent of the independent vote,” Schwartz said.
However, “Republican Tom Foley has to be concerned that this is the first likely voter poll in which Gov. Dannel Malloy has a numerical edge, even though it’s razor-thin,” he added.
As far as the likeability factor goes, Malloy’s favorability rating remained unchanged from the Oct. 8 poll, but Foley’s numbers have dropped into negative territory with 40 percent having a favorable opinion and 46 percent having an unfavorable opinion of the former ambassador. The percentage of survey respondents who view Foley unfavorably have gone from 33 percent on September 10, to 39 percent on October 8, and now 46 percent on October 22. Meanwhile, the percentage of survey respondents who view Malloy unfavorably have dropped slightly from 53 percent on September 10, to 51 percent on October 8, to 50 percent on October 22.
Eighty percent of voters don’t know enough about Visconti to offer an opinion.
Aside from slipping one point in the poll, which is within the 3.1 percent margin of error, “the other bad news for Tom Foley is that his favorability rating continues to tumble,” Schwartz said. “For the first time, more voters have a negative view of him than a positive view. The more voters get to know him, the less they like him.”
However, “the good news for Foley is that Malloy’s favorability is actually slightly worse,” Schwartz added.
During a Wednesday morning interview with John Dankosky of WNPR, Foley, who was up 6 points in the Sept. 10 Quinnipiac University poll, said again that he was never up 6 points. He said it’s always been a dead heat.
“I don’t agree with the polls in September. We were never 6 points up,” Foley said. “I’ve been saying ever since late August that this was a dead heat.”
He said with 43 percent of unaffiliated voters Connecticut is really a “purple state” which can swing either way.
Foley said the reason his favorability rating has dropped into negative territory can be tied to “negative advertising.”
“I’m actually shocked that the governor, first of all, has said so many things about me that simply aren’t true,” Foley told Dankosky.
The Wesleyan Media Project found that the television ads in Connecticut’s gubernatorial race are the most negative in the country.
The poll was conducted between Oct. 14 and Oct. 20. Schwartz said voters can expect another poll to be released before Election Day.