Christine Stuart file photo
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on a recent trip to a vineyard to promote tourism (Christine Stuart file photo)

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s poll numbers have never been good, but in the latest Quinnipiac University poll numbers show he has hit a new low.

The poll released Wednesday found 58 percent of voters disapprove of the job he’s doing, which is his lowest approval rating to date. Only 32 percent of voters polled approve of the job he’s doing.

According to the poll, 33 percent of Democrats disapprove of the job he’s doing.

“That’s not a good sign for an elected official,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said. “In his own party, less than 60 percent of voters approve of the job he’s doing.”

Malloy also is not well liked by voters. Almost half — 49 percent — believe he’s not honest and trustworthy and 55 percent don’t believe he cares about voters’ needs and problems.

“Gov. Dannel Malloy’s job approval rating has plummeted to 32 percent, close to the historic 24-percent low hit by disgraced former Gov. John Rowland in January 2004, and Gov. Malloy is not in the middle of a corruption scandal,” Schwartz said.

A total of 44 percent of voters polled believe Malloy’s policies have hurt the state’s economy. When it comes to their own personal finances, only 5 percent of voters say Malloy’s economic policies have helped them personally, while 40 percent say these policies have hurt them and 52 percent say they have not made a difference.

Schwartz said Malloy’s handling of the economy, budget, and taxes are dragging his approval rating down. However, he pointed out that in the past Malloy used to have high marks for leadership and trustworthiness, but those numbers in the latest poll have also taken a dive. Some of that distrust may be related to the fact that Malloy said he wasn’t going to raise taxes during his 2014 campaign and then he raised taxes with the budget he signed in June.

“Right now, Connecticut voters have really soured on the governor,” Schwartz said.

He also pointed out that Malloy has three years left in his term and his numbers will likely improve, if the economy improves. 

Malloy, at a press conference in New Haven announcing $2.3 million for Second Chance Society programs, shrugged off the poll, saying, “Polls come and polls go. I tend to pay attention to them five days before an election, and it’s worked out pretty well for me over the years.”

He added, “We’re doing a lot of good work here,” referring to the anti-recidivism iniatives, his transporation-improvement program and aid to cities, which Republicans are trying to reverse.
“We do hard things in Connecticut,” he said, mentioning

“I do these things for the long term,” Malloy said. “From day one as governor the first term I took on tough issues. … I’ve never run my life to be popular, let’s put it that way.”

Capitol sources have said they expected the governor’s poll numbers to be this low, but that doesn’t make them any less detrimental to his political clout.

“When you look at the political clout of a governor, it definitely is affected by how popular the governor is,” Schwartz said. “And right now his popularity is at a very low point. We noted in the press release we poll in nine states regularly and Governor Malloy has the lowest job approval rating of any of the nine governors.”

Malloy is expected to become the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association in January 2016.

“If Malloy is the face and spokesman of Democrat governors in 2016, look for their numbers to continue to dwindle,” Jon Thompson, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association, said.

When it comes to Connecticut’s business climate, 52 percent of voters say Malloy’s policies have hurt the state’s business climate and 33 percent feel his policies haven’t made a difference.

The state budget and the business taxes included in it have caused General Electric to explore moving its headquarters in Fairfield to another state. The poll found 50 percent of voters are very concerned GE might move and 32 percent are somewhat concerned. Only 8 percent are not concerned.

A total of 75 percent of voters say Connecticut’s economy is “not so good” or “poor,” and only 10 percent say it is getting better. Another 41 percent say it is getting worse and 48 percent say it is the same.

“Malloy is getting hammered on the critical pocketbook issues, taxes, the budget and the economy and jobs,” Schwartz said. “Only 36 percent of voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the state, one of the lowest scores since Quinnipiac University started asking this question in 1997.”

The legislature’s approval rating isn’t much better than the governor’s. The poll found only 27 percent approve of the job the legislature is doing and 57 percent disapprove.

However, as Malloy prepares to discuss his recent unilateral emergency budget cuts with lawmakers from his own party, there’s little he can point to in the poll to show the public supports his position.

On transportation, which Malloy hopes to make part of his legacy, voters are split on how the governor is doing. Forty-one percent approve of how he’s handling transportation and 43 percent disapprove. As far as crime is concerned, 45 percent disapprove and 38 percent approve. Malloy recently got the legislature to approve his Second Chance Society initiative to make it easier for non-violent offenders to find alternatives to incarceration.

In an open ended question, 33 percent of voters say the most important problem facing the state is the economy, 28 percent said taxes, and 11 percent said the budget.

As far as Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators are concerned, both U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is up for re-election next year, and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy get high marks from voters.

Blumenthal has a 62 percent approval rating and and Murphy has a 52 percent approval rating.

“Maybe Sen. Richard Blumenthal can lend Gov. Malloy some approval,” Schwartz said. “With 13 months until he faces re-election, Blumenthal had a 2-1 approval rating and similar 2-1 leads over possible Republican challengers.”

The poll found Blumenthal would best Republican August Wolf 61-26 percent and CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow, who has threatened to challenge Blumenthal but has not announced his candidacy, 61-27 percent.

The poll surveyed 1,735 registered voters between Oct. 7-11 and has a 2.4 percent margin of error.

New Haven Register reporter Ed Stannard contributed to this story.