Mortgages Give Dodd's Popularity a Wallop

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    The Senate ethics panel is investigating Dodd’s two mortgages through Countrywide Financial Corp.'s VIP program and he has received his first negative job approval rating from the Quinnipiac University poll.

    Mortgages have been the downfall of many Americans in this economy.

    While they have not hurt Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd financially, the two mortgages through Countrywide Financial Corp.'s VIP program given a wallop to his popularity.

    Dodd has received his first negative job approval rating from the Quinnipiac University poll. The Senate ethics panel is investigating the two mortgages.

    Almost half of the voters polled – 48 percent – disapprove of the job Dodd’s doing and 51 percent say they probably won't vote for the five-term Democrat in 2010.

    "Sen. Dodd is vulnerable. His approval has sunk to a new low," said poll director Douglas Schwartz. "The mortgage controversy has taken a toll on his approval rating.  Most voters are not satisfied with Dodd's explanation and say they are less likely to vote for him next year because of it."

    Dodd has said he sought no special treatment from Countrywide when he refinanced his Washington and East Haddam, Conn., homes in 2003.

    He acknowledged participating in a VIP program at Countrywide, but said he thought it referred to upgraded customer service, not reduced rates.

    Dodd said last week that he was hiring a third party to refinance the two mortgages.

    His committee has oversight over the mortgage and banking industries. He faced heavy criticism in his home state for not releasing details of his mortgages when the controversy erupted last year.

    He released mortgage documents last week showing that he received a $275,000 30-year, adjustable rate loan at 4.5 percent interest for his East Haddam home. The Washington home was financed with a 30-year adjustable loan of $506,000 with a 4.25 percent rate.

    Dodd said those rates were available at the time to other consumers with good credit scores.

    Connecticut independent Senator Joe Lieberman, also received a negative job approval rating. Forty-eight percent of voters in the Quinnipiac poll disapprove of the job he is doing.

    The poll also asked about State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who got a 79 percent approval rating and 71 percent favorability rating.

    If Lieberman faces Blumenthal in 2012, the Democratic challenger has an early 58-30 percent lead, the poll finds.