Wednesday, April 06, 2005

New Quinnipiac Poll: 80% Approve of Rell

Poll Shows Widespread Support for Rell, Lieberman

There is a great Quinnipiac Poll out this morning. Prepare yourselves for a long entry, there’s lots to go over:

Governor Rell

Governor Rell’s numbers remain extremely high, despite two months of budget wrangling and talk of raising taxes. 80% approve of the way she’s handling her job—up 6% from February. Incredible. The conventional wisdom was that her numbers would sag as she got down to the business of hammering out a budget with the legislature. Apparently, the public has taken her side in most of the quarrels she’s had with Democratic leadership. Even Democrats favor her overwhelmingly: 78% of them approve of her (up from 71% in February).

What do people like about the governor? 32% said that what they like most about her is her honesty, integrity and straightforward manner. 17% said that what they like most is the fact that she is “cleaning house” and enforcing ethical standards. When asked what they disliked about her, 39% said that there was nothing they disliked.

How to explain her high numbers? “ ‘Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell's numbers went up most likely because former Gov. John Rowland was back in the news and voters remember that they were glad she was there to take over,’ said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D," (Quinnipiac Poll). So Democrats eyeing her job for next year shouldn’t be too discouraged, and we can expect her numbers to drop when the next poll is released. How much they drop may depend in large part on events in the legislature over the next few months. Progress on campaign finance reform (an area in which the Democratic leadership is looking increasingly bad), ethics reform and civil unions may contribute to keeping the governor’s numbers high. A possible nursing home strike, her proposed gas tax and an increasingly vocal group of Democratic gubernatorial candidates may drag those numbers down.

Governor 2006

Again, Governor Rell is looking good against most Democratic candidates. Here are a few samples of gubernatorial matchups:

Jodi Rell: 50%
Christopher Dodd: 39%

Jodi Rell: 46%
Richard Blumenthal: 43%

Jodi Rell: 64%
Susan Bysiewicz: 21%

Jodi Rell: 64%
Kevin Sullivan: 22%

Jodi Rell: 66%
John DeStefano: 19%

What’s interesting here is that the two “candidates” who do the best against Rell are probably not going to enter the race. It’s surprising, given Dodd’s high approval rating, how poorly he fares here. Only Richard Blumenthal is close, coming within 3% of the governor (just outside the margin of error). Right now, the only thing that I could see stopping Rell from entering the race next year would be health concerns or a desire to leave public life.

Democratic Primary 2006

If the Democratic primary for governor were being held today and the candidates were Christopher Dodd, Richard Blumenthal,Susan Bysiewicz, Kevin Sullivan, John DeStefano and Dan Malloy for whom would you vote?

Dodd 35%
Blumenthal 33%
Bysiewicz 7%
DeStefano 6%
Sullivan 4%
Malloy 3%

Frustratingly, this tells us very little about what’s actually going to happen next year, as Dodd and Blumenthal, neither of whom are likely to run, are included.

Favorable/unfavorable ratings show us that the public has heard very little about the most likely candidates:

Percentage of persons who say, when asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the following public figures, who say they haven’t heard enough:

Dodd 10%
Blumenthal 13%
DeStefano 49%
Bysiewicz 51%
Sullivan 53%
Malloy 78%

Both DeStefano and Bysiewicz have raised an awful lot of money to turn those numbers around. I doubt that any of the campaigns are concerned.

Lieberman Primary

Sen. Lieberman continues to have a strong approval rating, despite recent media attention paid to a possible primary challenge next year.

67%/22% (4/6)
69%/20% (2/18)

The numbers are a bit different, but the change is within the 2.5% margin of error. Essentially, Lieberman’s recent actions in the Senate and the attention being paid to a possible primary next year haven’t changed his numbers in any statistically significant way. His numbers among Democrats are 4% lower than February (70% to 66%) but that drop is within the 4.1% margin of error for Democrats. More disheartening for Lieberman foes is the fact that 66% feel Lieberman deserves re-election. This includes 65% of Democrats. 63% of Democrats (57% total) say that Lieberman shares their views on issues they care about.

Apparently, then, there is no popular groundswell of support for a primary against Joe Lieberman at this time. This could change as Lieberman foes become more vocal and candidates emerge.

Those are the highlights. The entire poll is extremely interesting, and I suggest that you all go and take a look at it yourselves. Once again, here’s the link:

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