Hugh MqQuaid file photo
Joe Visconti, the third-party candidate vying for the governor’s office, dropped out of the race Sunday afternoon and threw his support to Republican Tom Foley.

Visconti, who says he was not offered anything by Foley in exchange for dropping out of the race, said he saw recent polling that showed the election “slipping away from Tom.”

“We probably can make a difference and push him over the top,” Visconti said Sunday in a phone interview. “I can’t deal with [Gov. Dannel P.] Malloy for four more years.”

Christine Stuart file photo
Visconti said he knew he was causing some division and indecision in the conservative segment of the voting population even though public polling showed he was taking votes equally from Foley and Malloy.

A Saturday survey by Public Policy Polling found Malloy with a small 3 point lead over Foley with Visconti taking 6 percent of the vote. Even with Visconti out of the race, the poll found Malloy maintained a 3 point lead.

A Quinnipiac University poll last week found that Malloy and Foley both had 43 percent of the vote with Visconti polling at 7 percent. If Visconti was not in the race, the Oct. 29 poll found Foley gets 46 percent to Malloy’s 45 percent, which is still within the polls 3.4 percent margin of error.

Visconti met privately with Foley on Saturday in West Hartford at Visconti’s mother’s home.

In a phone interview, Visconti stressed that his support for Foley didn’t come with any promises of a job in state government or anything else of value.

“I was going to stay out of it,” Visconti said. “I didn’t even tell my supporters I was doing this.”

It’s still unclear exactly where Visconti — a proponent of the Second Amendment who opposed the Common Core State Standards — will go.

Malloy’s campaign said the move means Foley has “doubled down on his plans to repeal Connecticut’s strict smart gun law that has made our neighborhoods, our schools and our streets safer.”

Foley has said he would sign a repeal of the 2013 gun laws if it reached his desk. However, he’s also said it’s unlikely with a Democrat-controlled legislature that would ever happen.

‘We’re glad the entire Republican Party is now united behind Tom’s message of change and economic prosperity,” Chris Cooper, a spokesman for Foley’s campaign said. “The campaign considers it good news’’