(Updated 12:25 p.m.) In a two-way race for governor, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is up 3 percentage points over Republican challenger Tom Foley one day before the election, according to the Quinnipiac University poll.
In 2010, Foley was up 3 points over Malloy, who squeaked out a victory by less than one half of one percent of the vote. The day before that election, polls suggested that Foley had 48 percent of the vote to Malloy’s 45 percent.
Monday’s poll found Malloy has 47 percent of the vote to Foley’s 44 percent, suggesting the departure of unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti on Sunday has done little to help Foley.
The poll found Malloy has a 3-point lead in the poll without Visconti in the race. The third-party candidate dropped out of the race Sunday in an effort to help Foley, who he said was “slipping” in the polls.
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, independent candidate Joe Visconti’s last minute exit from the governor’s race doesn’t look like it will help Republican Tom Foley,” Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said.
He said what they were finding was that Visconti voters were breaking “slightly for Malloy.”
“Now, I think the interpretation has to be the Visconti voters are protest voters that aren’t happy with either candidate,” Schwartz said. “And so it’s not so much they are really conservative and all in the corner of Foley. They don’t like either candidate and were just aligning themselves with Visconti.”
Schwartz admitted that he doesn’t know if these Visconti voters will even turn out in the end.
“I would not be surprised [if], just like some of the undecideds at this point in the campaign, [they] don’t show up in the end,” Schwartz said.
The poll found the race looking tighter with Visconti in it. When given a choice between all three candidates, 43 percent of voters backed Malloy and 42 percent for Foley. Visconti took about 8 percent of the vote.
And it looks like voters still don’t like their choice of gubernatorial candidate. The poll found both Foley and Malloy with negative favorability ratings. Foley’s was split 42 percent favorable to 44 percent unfavorable, while Malloy’s was 43 percent favorable to 49 percent unfavorable.
However, Schwartz said there are some positive signs in the poll for Malloy.
“Number one, he is up by 3 points and you always want to be the candidate who is ahead even if it’s not statistically significant. Number two, it looks like he’s got a little bit of momentum. He was down by one point in our previous poll last week, now he’s up by three,” Schwartz said. “The third thing to look at is the independents. I’ve said before that it’s critical for the Republican that they win the independent vote by a substantial margin, at least 20 points, if they’re going to win in blue Connecticut.”
The poll of 926 likely voters also shows that 7 percent of the voters remained undecided with one day to go. It has a 3.2 percent margin of error.
“You can’t count Foley out,” Schwartz said. “He still has a chance. There’s also 11 percent that say they can still change their minds so it’s still possible to see some movement in the final hours of this campaign.”
A survey by Public Policy Polling on Saturday found Malloy with 44 percent to Foley’s 41 percent with Visconti in the race polling at 6 percent. When Visconti was removed from the poll, Malloy maintained his 3 point lead with 47 percent of the vote to Foley’s 44 percent.
A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of 977 likely Connecticut voters released on Sunday found Malloy with 48 percent of the vote to Foley’s 47 percent. The poll did not ask about Visconti, but 2 percent of voters said they prefer some other candidate in the race and 4 percent were undecided.
Visconti’s name will still appear on the ballot Tuesday.
Hugh McQuaid contributed to this report.