(Updated 12 p.m.) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has never been a popular governor, but on Wednesday his poll numbers reached a new low with only 24 percent of Connecticut voters approving of the job he’s doing.
Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said it’s one of the “lowest approval ratings ever recorded for a governor” in the nine states the poll surveys. It ties former Gov. John G. Rowland’s approval rating in 2004 before he resigned and went to jail.
Voters, according to the poll, don’t seem to trust the the second-term governor, who won re-election by more than 28,000 votes.
While most of the disapproval from voters is related to the economy, the governor’s approval rating regarding his personal qualities have also slipped. Only 36 percent believe he has strong leadership qualities, 37 percent believe he’s honest and trustworthy and 32 percent believe he cares about voter needs and problems.
How many of those feelings are attributed to the economy and how much should be attributed to Malloy?
“It’s clearly an unhappiness with the economy and it’s clearly an unhappiness with the way the governor’s handling the economy,” Schwartz said.
Wednesday’s poll found that 68 percent of voters disapprove of the job he’s doing. Even Democratic voters gave him a negative job approval rating with 40 percent approving and 47 percent disapproving of the job he’s doing.
“That’s something you rarely see,” Schwartz said. “When members of the governor’s own party disapprove of the way he’s handling his job you know that he’s in trouble.”
He said if Malloy were to seek a third term, which the governor did not rule out last year during an editorial board meeting with CTNewsJunkie, these poll numbers show he’s vulnerable to a primary challenge.
Before Wednesday, Malloy’s lowest approval rating from the Quinnipiac University poll was 32 percent back in October 2015, almost a year after his re-election.
But he’s not the only one with a low approval rating. The state’s legislature also got a 24 percent approval rating with 65 percent disapproving of the way it’s handling things.
The poll of 1,330 Connecticut voters also found that only 3 percent are “very satisfied” with the way things are going in the state, with 25 percent “somewhat satisfied.” Another 33 percent are “somewhat dissatisfied” with 39 percent “very dissatisfied.”
“Voters feel Connecticut’s economy is going down the drain and they are sending Gov. Dannel Malloy’s approval ratings right down the same drain,” Schwartz said.
However, Schwartz said that’s not uncommon. He said “voters usually blame the person in charge, fairly or unfairly.”
The poll also found 16 percent of voters disapprove of the way Malloy handled the state budget, which cuts more than $820 million, has led to layoffs, and doesn’t raise taxes. Only 26 percent of voters approved of the decision to lay off state employees in order to help balance the budget. And only 18 percent of voters approved of his handling of taxes. Malloy is responsible for the two largest tax increases in the state’s history, but neither were implemented this year.
“For the first time, we see a majority of the state saying the economy is getting worse,“ Schwartz said.
He said when they ask about Malloy’s handling of economic issues he gets approval numbers in the teens “you virtually never see that.”
While voters disapprove of how Malloy handles the budget and the economy, at least 40 percent of voters approved of the way he’s handling crime, even though he was unable to get the legislature to adopt his proposal to reform the bail system.
As far as the economy is concerned, only 20 percent of Connecticut voters say the state’s economy is “excellent” or “good,” while 80 percent say it is “not so good” or “poor.”
Only 29 percent of voters say they are better off financially than they were a year ago, while 45 percent say they are worse off and 24 percent say they are the same. But 42 percent expect to be better off this time next year, while 30 percent expect to be worse off and 19 percent expect to be the same.
Also, 74 percent of Connecticut voters surveyed said jobs are difficult to find in their community.
The poll also asked voters “How difficult would it be for you to pay an unexpected bill of one thousand dollars right away: very difficult, somewhat difficult, not so difficult, or not difficult at all?”
At least 60 percent of voters said they would find it difficult to pay an unexpected bill of $1,000 immediately.
The poll, which was conducted June 1-5 has a 2.4 percent margin of error.