Saturday, October 30, 2010

CT-Gov tightens up

There's been a huge movement in the Connecticut Governor's race over the last month and the race is now a toss up, with Republican Tom Foley inching ahead of Democrat Dan Malloy by a 49-47 margin after trailing 50-40 in early October.

A look inside the numbers makes it clear that attacks on Malloy, rather than an increase in voter affection toward Foley, are what has made this race so competitive in the final days. A month ago Foley's favorability rating was 41/40 and now it's almost identical at 41/38. Voters aren't really warming up to him. But Malloy's numbers have seen a precipitous drop. At the beginning of the month he posted a stellar 50/29 favorability spread and that's gone all the way down now to 39/40, a 22 point decline on the margin in just four weeks time.

Foley has built a dominant lead with independent voters at 58-33, even as they simultaneously split almost even with their Senate votes. A lot of indys in Connecticut are clearly planning to vote a Blumenthal/Foley ticket. Foley's also seen a large increase in his crossover support, now taking 20% of Democrats compared to only 12% a month ago.

The race is still certainly close enough to go either way but we've been talking a lot recently about the formula for a Republican to win in a deep blue state: take independents by an overwhelming margin and get 20% of the Democratic vote. Foley's doing those two things and this is going to be a close one.

One thing that has to help Foley's prospects is that the state already has a Republican Governor it really likes. Jodi Rell's approval rating as she leaves office is a 55/31 spread, making her one of the most popular Governors in the country. Democratic leaning Connecticut voters know that they can be pretty content with a GOP Governor.

While the Governor's race is now looking pretty interesting, the Senate contest is not. Richard Blumenthal leads by a 54-43 margin. Republicans probably could have been competitive in this race. Blumenthal's net favorability is a +10 at 50/40. Those numbers don't exactly scream invincibility and they represent a 30 point drop on the margin from when his favorability was +40 at the beginning of January. Republicans were not, however, going to be competitive with Linda McMahon as their nominee. 52% of voters view her dimly while only 37% see her in a positive light.

Republicans can win a Senate race in a deep blue state with a strong candidate. They didn't have one in Connecticut. Blumenthal's final margin of victory is going to be smaller than most of his poll leads over the course of the year were but he's going to win just the same.

Full results here


Mopar said...

I might suggest it isn't the attack ads against Malloy hurting him, it's the fact that in every debate be came across as a union thug or mobster. Even when Foley chose to talk about the issues instead of attacking Malloy, Dan replied with another attack rather then address the issues. Some of his handles must have mentioned this to him, because in more recent debates he at least attempted to smile when he thought the camera was on him but as soon as he thought the camera was off him and on Foley (and it wasn't) he returned to his thuggish scowl. Dan Malloy has been his own worst enemy in this campaign, just like McMahon has.

Chuck T said...

If you get CT Governor right you certainly will have bragging rights. I've seen the polls get closer in the last few weeks, but your poll is the first I've seen to actually show Malloy leading. Even Ras last CT poll had Foley leading by 3.

John Schmidt said...

Some facts for voters from the Tax Foundation: Connecticut's State/Local Tax Burden is Third-Highest in Nation. Connecticut’s 2010 Business Tax Climate Ranks 48th in the country. Connecticut’s property tax collections per capita rank 2nd highest nationally, behind only New Jersey. Connecticut's gasoline tax stands at 41.9 cents per gallon (4th highest nationally). Connecticut only gets $.69 back from every dollar we send to DC, which is the 3rd lowest nationally. Tax Freedom Day arrives on April 27 in Connecticut, the latest in the Nation.
Some questions the voters need to ask themselves: Why do we have the second highest electric rates in the country after Hawaii? Why does all the gas tax not go to transportation? Why is our tax burden so high? Why is Connecticut's unfunded liability at nearly $15.9 billion, the second-highest unfunded pension liability per capita in the country? Why is our state not ranked higher as business friendly? Why is our return on money we send to DC so low at $.69 when Mississippi gets $2.02 back.
Is there a failure of our legislature and our Congressional delegation to do what is best for the state? So why should voters elect Democrats when they have so badly messed up this state?

Anonymous said...

I believe CT has next to no early voting, so that adds some drama to late movement. In other states, like Florida, Nevada or CA, there is much less chance of a last minute change in the minds of the electorate upending the dynamics of the race, since so many have already voted.

Jack said...

I agree with Mopar. Malloy came across as a real douche in his televised debates with over-the-top attacks on non-policy issues.Also, the Bibb attacks that Malloy spent all of his money on were already televised by Foley's Republican primary opponent so I don't think they were very effective, especially since Foley did a nice rebuttal commercial.

And to John Schmidt: I think the reason why CT has a such lower ratio Mississippi and much of the South have more minorities and poverty per capita (and less wall street executives that claim residence in their states). I would give an exaggerated but comparable analogy of "Why does Greenwich have such a low ratio compared to Bridgeport?"

So, not a failure of our congressmen per se, but certainly is representative of how national programs hurt (or benefit) state's interests just as much as they hurt (or benefit) individual interests.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"your poll is the first I've seen to actually show Malloy leading. Even Ras last CT poll had Foley leading by 3."

I think you've got that backwards.

Chuck T said...

Yep I got the candidates backwards.

Anonymous said...

This poll says that the partisan composition will be 42D/27R/31I, while the 2008 composition in Connecticut was 43D/27R/31I.

I know you say you don't weight for partisan composition, but isn't it a bit of a stretch to say that it will be the exact same as in 2008?

Anonymous said...

"I know you say you don't weight for partisan composition, but isn't it a bit of a stretch to say that it will be the exact same as in 2008?"

CT is one of the few states where assuming 2010 partisan breakdowns will be the same as 2008 is probably not unreasonable - IIRC, CT is one of the few states where the Dem registration advantage has actually *grown* over 2008...

Anonymous said...

I watched them both on TV today and while Foley is a bit boring and cool, Malloy didn't do himself any favors when he had the chance. Malloy came off brittle and angry and gave the impression he wasn't a very nice guy. Seems like he let his years thugging in Stamford to convince him this would be a cake walk. I'd never vote for the guy. He smells like a crook and it's the first time I ever saw him.

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