<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut Political News, NY and CT Politics, and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:23:42 -0400 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:23:42 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Decision 2014: Episode 2, July 20, 2014]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 10:24:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MalloyEDIT.jpg

On this week’s show, Gov. Dan Malloy, former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley and “Meet the Press” host and moderator David Gregory.

Tune in to NBC Connecticut's "Decision 2014" for the most in-depth political coverage in the state.

Every Sunday at 10 a.m., hosts Gerry Brooks, Todd Piro and George Colli interview candidates and newsmakers, breaking down statewide races and important issues.

Episode 2: The Frontrunners

  • WATCH: Gov. Dan Malloy gets personal with Gerry Brooks about some of the toughest days he’s faced in his first term. The governor also shares his feelings about the potential Rocks Cats move from New Britain to Hartford.
  • WATCH: Tom Foley talks with George Colli about why the next governor should be an outsider, the role his family is expected to play in this campaign and the types of schools he wants his two young children to grow up in.
  • WATCH: Todd Piro talks with “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory about this week's hot issues, including immigration and the investigation of the crash on Malaysia Airline Flight MH17.

Online Exclusive

  • WATCH: Tom Foley reacts to the governor’s decision not to house 2,000 undocumented children in Southbury and discusses the impact of third-party candidates.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Immigration Debate Continues in Connecticut]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 19:44:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/immigrationpic7182014.jpg

The immigration debate continues in Connecticut after Gov. Dannel Malloy turned down the federal government’s request to house undocumented children at a facility in Southbury.

“I have to say to you that I don’t believe that these large facilities to mass folks is the right way to go,” Malloy said Friday.

Malloy said a large part of his decision was due to the insufficient size and safety of the facilities in question, which would have sheltered 1,000-2,000 undocumented immigrant children who have recently entered the country without adults.

“We were asked specifically about Southbury, and that place just isn’t in shape,” Malloy said. “We have lead problems, we have asbestos problems.”

According to a letter from Malloy’s Chief of Staff, Mark Ojakian, to State Rep. Juan Candelaria, federal authorities first contacted Malloy’s office July 3.

“The request for assistance was quite narrow,” wrote Ojakian. “Among other requirements, the agencies were seeking facilities that contained no less than 90,000 square feet of open space, which needed to be ready and available for immediate use. The facilities also needed to be ADA and NEPA compliant, with additional outside space as needed for trailers that hold showers, restrooms, and kitchens. As has been reported, GSA made specific inquiries into whether the Southbury Training School might fit these needs.”

He went on to say that the Southbury school and other vacant properties were reviewed and shown to be inadequate.

Candelaria said Malloy’s decision doesn’t seem to be an outright “no.”

“It’s not that the governor said no, it is ‘no’ to the Southbury facility,” Candelaria said. “[Are] there other possibilities that we can house these children?”

Although he hasn’t named alternative ideas, Candelaria is hoping for a creative solution.

“I know that families have actually come forward and said, ‘You know, we want to house these people,’” he said.

Massachusetts has approved two locations, but Malloy points out that one of those sites is on federal property. He said Connecticut will continue to cooperate but that Washington must also do its part.

“The Congress of the United States has an obligation to pass the bill, to appropriate the funds necessary to do this work,” Malloy said. “They also should pass comprehensive immigration reform. But with respect to our ongoing work with the federal government, we will continue to be a partner."

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<![CDATA[Decision 2014: NBC Connecticut Talks Politics]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 08:39:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/decision+2014+web.jpg

Tune in to NBC Connecticut Sunday mornings to hear for the most in-depth political coverage in the state.

"Decision 2014" is a half-hour show of local political coverage that will make you better informed this election season.

Every Sunday at 10 a.m., hosts Gerry Brooks, Todd Piro and George Colli will interview candidates and newsmakers, breaking down statewide races and important issues.

The show kicks off this Sunday, July 13, and you’ll hear from a couple challengers in this year’s governor’s race.

Episode 1 – The Challengers

  • WATCH: State Sen. John McKinney talks with George Colli about why he should be the GOP’s choice to face off against Governor Dannel Malloy.
  • WATCHJonathan Pelto sits down with Gerry Brooks about how the third-party candidate has gone from ultimate democratic party insider to a pariah.
  • WATCHChristine Stuart of CTNewsJunkie analyzes the interviews with Todd Piro.

Online exclusives:

  • WATCHJohn McKinney and George Colli talk about the potential impact of more Connecticut Native American tribes becoming federally recognized and more.
  • WATCHChristine Stuart and Todd Piro discuss more of the issues facing the candidates this election year.
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<![CDATA[Berkeley Set to Require Free Medical Pot for Poor]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:55:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/06-11-2014-medical-marijuana-generic.jpg

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Berkeley will likely soon be required to provide free pot to low-income members and homeless people, according to an ordinance approved by the city council on Tuesday.

The city is also looking to approve a fourth dispensary, raising the current limit of three locations.

The proposed ordinance, first reported by the East Bay Express, requires that Berkeley dispensaries give away two percent of the amount of cannabis they sell each year low-income people. And the pot can't be poor quality either. The proposed city ordinance reads (PDF) that the "medical cannabis provided under this section shall be the same quality on average" as marijuana "dispensed to other members."

“It’s sort of a cruel thing that when you are really ill and you do have a serious illness... it can be hard to work, it can be hard to maintain a job and when that happens, your finances suffer and then you can’t buy the medicine you need,” said Sean Luce with the Berkeley Patients Group.

In order to be eligible, a person must qualify for exemption from local taxes and fees, an income level that's set every year by the city council. That equates to $32,000 a year for one person and $46,000 a year for a family of four.

The ordinance is awaiting final approval, but could become law in August.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mark Boughton Formally Withdraws from Governor's Race]]> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 11:43:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Danbury+Mark_Boughton.jpg

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has formally withdrawn from the Republican primary race for governor.

After announcing his intention to leave the race on June 18, he filed a letter with the Secretary of State's Office, received June 26, asking to be removed from the Aug. 12 primary ballot.

"It's been my honor to seek Connecticut's highest statewide office," Boughton said in a statement a week and a half ago. "However, I now believe it is time to suspend my candidacy and call for party untiy behind the endorsed Republican candidate, Tom Foley."

Foley's main remaining contender in the primary is State Sen. John McKinney (R-28), the minority leader in the State Senate.

 

 

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<![CDATA[5 Things to Know About New House GOP Leader McCarthy]]> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 19:30:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/450883992.jpg

House Republicans selected a new majority leader Thursday, tapping  Rep. Kevin McCarthy to the conference's No. 2 post.

The California native replaces outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was handed a surprising defeat by a little-known GOP challenger in Virgnia's primary election

The promotion puts the 49-year-old McCarthywho has quickly risen through the leadership ranks during his four terms in Congress, next in line to potentially succeed House Speaker John Boehner.

Here are five things you may not know about the new majority leader:

He got his (lucky) start in sandwiches.

A young McCarthy used a $5,000 lottery prize to start his own business, opening a sandwich shop called Kevin O's Deli at age 19. The shop he has descibed as "Subway before there was Subway," offered "fresh Dutch Krunch white rolls every day," and sandwiches "hot upon request," according to The Orange County Register. McCarthy says he used the profits from later selling that deli to finance his college education. The experience of building a business before hitting 21, he says, helped shape his views on limited government regulations and taxes.

He sees (some of) himself in “House of Cards.”

When Netflix’s popular political drama debuted in 2013, a few things felt a little too familiar to McCarthy, who, like the show’s fictional lead, Rep. Francis Underwood, served as majority whip. That framed whip hanging in Underwood’s office? A spitting image of the one McCarthy received as a gift from Cantor. The scene where Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, tells members “Vote your district, vote your conscience, don't surprise me"? Sounds strikingly like what McCarthy says he tells his own conference. The real-life whip believes those nods came out of a meet-and-greet he had with Spacey before the show started filming. He says the similarities between him and Underwood, a Democrat known for his duplicitous and Machiavellian ways, stop at those superficial references, though. "This one is made professionally about Washington, but it's not Washington," he said of the show during an appearance in Sacramento. "Don't believe what you see in there, but it's intriguing."

He co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In the California state Capitol, that is. McCarthy, first elected to represent his home district in Kern County in the state Legislature in 2002, rose to leader of the Assembly’s Republican caucus during his first term. That put him at the bargaining table with then-Gov. Schwarzenegger, who entered office via a 2003 recall election, on state budget negotiations and other major issues facing the Golden State. McCarthy left California's Capitol for the halls of Congress after the 2006 election, when he won the House seat vacated by his own political mentor and former boss, former Republican Rep. Bill Thomas.

He’s an all-star Instagrammer.

McCarthy’s filter-laden Instagram account has attracted more than 12,000 followers to date. While cameos from the likes of Beyonce, Ringo Star and cute dogs don’t hurt, the GOP congressman also uses the social platform to post behind-the-scenes photos from his political and personal life (including frequent “Throwback Thursday” pictures). His social media savvy led BuzzFeed to name him the “best Republican congressman on Instagram” in 2013.

 


He splits with some GOP conservatives on immigration.

McCarthy hails from one of the nation's bluest states. But the California native hasn’t strayed much from the GOP line in his own time in office, voting with his party 96 percent of the time, according to one Washington Post analysis.  Still, he's split with the more conservative factions of his caucus on at least one key issue seen as a potential factor in Cantor’s primary defeat: immigration reform. Unlike his tea party-aligned colleagues, McCarthy has expressed support for creating a path to legal status for the country’s undocumented immigrants. His campaign for majority leader drew criticism from some conservative commentators, who blasted his backing of immigration reform, Sandy relief funding and a budget compromise. Despite some differences in ideology and style, McCarthy, a skilled networker and social butterfly, has made many friends in Washington, thanks in part to his success in raising cash and building a program to train and support up-and-coming candidates.
 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Malloy to Receive Public Campaign Financing]]> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 17:59:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/malloy2.jpg

A state elections panel today released a fourth round of payments to candidates applying for public campaign financing.

Among the recipients, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s reelection team.

A potential roadblock to Malloy receiving almost $7 million was eliminated when the State Elections Enforcement Commission dismissed a complaint that Malloy had begun campaigning before announcing his plan to run agian.

Meanwhile, the commission said it has not yet released any funds to Malloy’s chief competitor, Republican challenger Tom Foley.

The commision's only public comment on the subject was that the Foley team has not yet raised at least $250,000 in qualified contributions, a requirement for receiving the public funding.

 



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Governor Vetoes Chocolate Milk Ban in Schools]]> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 06:56:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Governor+Malloy+with+chocolate+milk1200.jpg

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has vetoed a bill that would have banned chocolate milk from school lunchrooms across the state.

State lawmakers passed legislation at the end of the session that would have revised the education laws to comply with new federal school lunch standards on sodium, which in turn, would also have eliminated the flavored milk from schools. 

The reason is that sodium is added to nonfat chocolate milk to counteract the bitterness from the added cocoa, according to Malloy.

In his veto message, the governor said that he supported much of what was in the bill, but could not support legislation that would ban chocolate milk in schools.

"Ideally, students will choose to drink unflavored nonfat milk," Malloy wrote. "Chocolate milk contains unnecessary calories, sugar, as well as sodium."

But, he took into account the overall nutritional value of calcium in the diets of children during critical years in which children's bones are developing and the liklihood that those who don't like unflavored milk will drink none at all.

To balance things out, Malloy said chocolate milk should stay, but children should be encouraged to drink unflavored milk.

"I am not opposed to individual school districts having the choice to eliminate the sale of chocolate milk in their schools. However, I do not think it is wise policy to mandate statewide," Malloy wrote.

Before Malloy vetoed the legislation, critics warned that banning chocolate milk could change children's lunchtime habits for the worse.

Lonnie Burt, the chief nutritionist of Hartford Public Schools, had concerns about how the legislation would affect children’s nutritional intake because chocolate milk provides calcium, vitamin A, potassium and other nutrients, she said.

The American Heart Association has also said the nutritional value of milk, even flavored milk, outweighs concerns about the amount of sodium in diets.

Malloy pointed out that he would fully support the bill, provided some minor changes are made.

He also said it might "be wise to cap the sodium levels in milk offered in schools. But an outright ban on added sodium is not workable."

 



Photo Credit: Office of Gov. Malloy]]>
<![CDATA[NBC's Chuck Todd: Why Cantor Lost]]> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 22:35:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000006784560_1200x675_278401091860.jpg NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd explains what led to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning loss in the 7th District.]]> <![CDATA[Malloy to Hold "Crisis Summit" on Metro-North]]> Mon, 09 Jun 2014 14:33:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/South+Norwalk+metro+north1200.jpeg

Gov. Dannel Malloy will be meeting with executives from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metro-North on Monday for what his office is calling a "crisis summit" after several several service disruptions.

The most recent problem was with the Walk Bridge in South Norwalk. Over the course of a week, it failed to close twice and service was interrupted as crews scrambled to mke repairs.

Malloy is traveling to New York to meet with officials from the rail service and will be meeting with the media afterward.

“This is now the second major failure in two weeks, leaving thousands of passengers stranded and causing unacceptable delays. Let me be clear, this is outrageous," Malloy said in a statement on Friday. "In speaking with MTA and Metro-North, my administration has stressed that every procedure, protocol and engineering solution must get the immediate attention of the most qualified team of experts. It is of the upmost importance that these operating, maintenance, alternative service and customer protocols be completely critiqued and that near term solutions be found to ensure reliable service for Connecticut commuters.

Commuters were frustrated on Friday evening as the trip home was delayed.

"I pay for a monthly ticket. I shouldn't have to walk," said Mary Fareira, of Waterbury, who followed the crowd from South Norwalk to East Norwalk after a mechanical problem stopped train service.

Twenty-four buses were sent from the Bronx to transport passengers between South Norwalk and East Norwalk on Friday, according to Metro-North. 

Amtrak service on both the Northeast regional and Acela lines was also affected and trains were held at Penn Station for several hours.

Metro-North officials said the bridge is 118 years old, but the state has invested more than $1.5 million in recent years to improve bridge reliability.

Malloy said the recent problems with the bridge heighten the need to replace the bridge, which he called "a central link to the entire Northeast Corridor."

"We simply cannot afford peak service disruptions like this, which is why we have requested and are aggressively pursuing federal Resiliency funding for this exact purpose," Malloy said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) echoed Malloy's sentiments and said he plans to "work with the full delegation to ensure Connecticut's transportation infrastructure receives the immediate attention and funding it needs and deserves."

The bridge also had a similar problem in 2011, in some cases keeping passengers on the train for two hours before they could transfer to a bus.



Photo Credit: Julietta Coscia]]>
<![CDATA[Bush Has Knee Surgery in Chicago ]]> Tue, 27 May 2014 20:53:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP13042414604.jpg

President George W. Bush traveled to Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend to have a knee replacement surgery at the Rush University Medical Center's Midwest Orthopaedics.

The former president had outpatient surgery on Saturday, multiple sources familiar with the surgery told NBC Chicago, and stayed at the Peninsula Hotel on Michigan Avenue until he returned home to Dallas on Monday. 

His wife Laura and a Secret Service contingent stayed with him during the weekend surgical visit. Rather than stay at Rush Medical center, doctors visited the former president at his hotel. 

A representative from the former president's office confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday that Bush had "successful partial knee replacement on Saturday." He said Bush came home to Dallas on Sunday and is "doing great."

It's not clear which of Bush's knees was replaced. In 2004, Time Magazine reported that the 43rd president had torn a meniscus in his knee, but which knee was never made clear. 

The president gave up jogging because of the bad knee and started mountain biking in May 2004, according to reports.  

Rush University is considered a leader in joint replacement surgery



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Governor Will Not Ban Chocolate Milk in Schools]]> Fri, 16 May 2014 21:29:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Chocolate+milk+ban+in+Connecticut.jpg

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy will not sign a bill to ban chocolate milk from school lunchrooms statewide. 

As the legislative session wrapped up on Wednesday, state lawmakers passed legislation that would have made revisions to the education statutes to comply with new federal school lunch standards on sodium. The amendment would have eliminated chocolate milk from schools.

But critics warned that banning chocolate milk could change kids' lunchtime habits for the worse.

“This specific bill has not yet come to the Governor’s desk and will be reviewed in detail when it arrives. However, on the broader topic at hand, the Governor is not supportive of banning chocolate milk in public schools," Andrew Doba, Malloy's communication director, said in an e-mailed statement. "While we must be extremely mindful of the nutritional value of what’s offered to students, ensuring an appropriate array of options helps to ensure that kids receive the calcium and other nutrients they need.”

Lonnie Burt, the chief nutritionist of Hartford Public Schools, had concerns about the impact this legislation would have on children’s nutrition. Chocolate milk provides calcium, vitamin A, potassium and other nutrients, she said.

“What concerns me is that if chocolate milk is not one of the available options, then I believe students will decrease consumption of milk overall,” Burt said.

The American Heart Association seems to agree and said the nutritional value of milk, even flavored milk, outweighs concerns about the amount of sodium in diets.

At the Environmental Sciences Magnet School in Hartford, chocolate milk is popular, and students don’t like the idea of getting rid of it. 

“Everyone likes it. The majority of the school wants it, and not many people like regular milk,” seventh-grader Maddy Lanzi said.
 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Ethics Complaint to be Filed Against Hartford Mayor]]> Wed, 14 May 2014 18:12:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hartford+Mayor+Pedro+Segarra+bdget.jpg

Hartford's Independent Audit Commission says it will file an ethics complaint against Mayor Pedro Segarra due to the mayor's alleged failure to "uphold city laws."

Specifically, the IAC accuses Segarra of failing to permanently hire department directors within six months of having employed them on an interim basis.

This reportedly violates a city ordinance that requires a formal hiring process in which department director candidates are vetted by the city council.

The mayor's office did not respond to a request for comment.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[California Governor Releases Record-High $108B State Budget ]]> Wed, 14 May 2014 11:11:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/169375696_8.jpg

California tax revenue is running $2.4 billion ahead of expectations, but Gov. Jerry Brown cautioned Tuesday that the windfall would go to offsetting higher-than-expected health care costs and an underfunded teachers' pension system. 

In the revised budget plan that Brown released Tuesday, the governor projected $107.8 billion in spending from the general fund, the state's main account for paying day-to-day operations, bringing total state spending to $156.2 billion for the fiscal year starting July 1. That's $1 billion more than the general fund plan Brown proposed in January.

An increase in tax revenue has Democrats in the Legislature demanding more spending to restore previous funding cuts to social services.

However, Brown said California can expect about $1.2 billion in additional costs this year for Medi-Cal, the state's health insurance program for the poor, which saw 1.4 million more enrollees than the state projected in January. Brown's office said the additional cost will climb to $2.4 billion in the next fiscal year as even more people enroll due to an expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

"People will say, 'You aren't spending enough on this program or that program, or helping low-income people.' California is going the extra mile in terms of health care," Brown said.

The governor also set aside $450 million to help pay for the growing obligation of public school teacher pensions. The state Legislative Analyst's Office has estimated the liability is nearly $74 billion.

"That was a commitment they made years ago, but they didn't pay for it," Brown said.

Brown's record-high spending plan will be debated in the Legislature. While the governor pleads caution with new spending, he has not let up on his campaign to use money from pollution credits to finance the building of the high-speed rail - which some Democrats, led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, now oppose.

The budget also adds $142 million to address California's drought for expenses such as firefighting, emergency response, water management, wildlife preservation and food assistance, primarily for farmworkers who lose their jobs.

The debate over spending priorities now starts in earnest, with a spending plan deadline of June 15.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Poll Finds Most Residents Support Recreational Marijuana]]> Mon, 12 May 2014 16:41:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP169413737819.jpg

By a slight margin, most Connecticut voters support allowing adults to legally possess marijuana for personal use, according to a poll released Monday. Most of that support came from residents between the ages of 18 and 29.

A new Quinnipiac University poll found 52 percent of people who took part in the survey support recreational use, with a stark split between age groups.

When it came to support for recreational marijuana use, 80 percent of voters between 18 and 29 years old said they were in favor.

There was less support among voters over 65 years old. Just 34 percent of respondents in that age group said they supported legal recreational use, while 61 percent opposed it.

There was broader support for legalized medical use of marijuana – at 90 percent overall. Voters of all ages overwhelmingly backed legal medical marijuana, with 99 percent of voters from 18 to 29 years old supporting it, along with 84 percent of voters over 65 years old.

"While 90 percent support the current law allowing medical marijuana, support drops to 69 percent who would want a medical marijuana dispensary in their town," the poll's director Douglas Schwartz said.

The poll found that close to half of Connecticut voters, 47 percent, had admitted to trying marijuana.

The survey also asked about people’s attitude about marijuana, and 61 percent of voters said alcohol is more harmful to a person's health, while 16 percent said marijuana is more harmful. Eighteen percent said both are harmful.

More than half of the people who participated in the poll said that should marijuana be more widely available, alcohol would be more harmful to society, while 28 percent said marijuana would be more harmful.

Almost 60 percent of people who participated in the poll said legalizing marijuana would lead to more underage use.


Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the poll had found that 61 percent of voters aged 65 and older said they backed legalizing recreational marijuana use. The story has been corrected to reflect the poll's finding that 61 percent of that age group oppose it, while 34 percent support it.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Q Poll: Gov. Malloy Tied With Foley in Reelection Battle]]> Fri, 09 May 2014 07:37:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Tom+Foley+Dannel+Malloy+1200.jpg

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy's approval rating is 48 percent as we approach the next election and he is deadlocked with Republican challenger Tom Foley, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday morning

The big hurdles for the governor include how he is handling the state budget and taxes, including his failed promise to offer $55 tax refunds, according to the poll.

Voters who participated also said -- 48 to 44 percent – that Malloy does not deserve to be reelected.

Looking ahead to the gubernatorial election, Malloy is deadlocked at 43 to 43 percent in a battle with Foley, the poll states.

"It's deja-vu all over again as Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and 2010 Republican standard-bearer Tom Foley remain locked in a dead heat," Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said.

Malloy edges State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, 44 to 40 percent, and tops Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, 44 to 39 percent, and he leads other little known challengers by margins of 8 to 10 percentage points.

With one week to go before the Connecticut Republican Convention, Foley leads the GOP pack with 39 percent, followed by Boughton with 9 percent and McKinney with 8 percent. No other Republican has more than 5 percent and 28 percent are undecided.

Malloy gets a divided 46 to 45 percent favorability rating. Foley's favorability is 36 to 23 percent, with 39 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

For the other Republicans, anywhere from 71 percent to 84 percent don't know enough to form an opinion.

"The good news for Gov. Malloy is that the negative headlines about his cancellation of the $55 per person tax refund does not seem to affect his overall approval rating or his standing in the governor's race. The bad news is that almost all the Republicans are within single digits of Malloy, with Foley tied and Boughton and McKinney on his heels," Schwartz said.

Connecticut voters said -- 60 to 29 percent – that Malloy's planned tax refund was a “campaign gimmick” and never should have been offered, while most voters said it is "fair to return some share of state revenues to taxpayers" when the state finances are good.

In an open-ended question, 18 percent of those who disapprove of the job Malloy is doing cite taxes as the main reason, while another 18 percent list the state budget or finances as 13 percent cite the economy or jobs.

Only 21 percent of voters say they are personally better off than they were four years ago, while 30 percent say they are worse off and 48 percent say they are about the same.

Looking at Malloy's character, Connecticut voters said, 59 to 36 percent, that he has strong leadership qualities, 57 to 33 percent said that he is honest and trustworthy and 49 to 45 percent that he cares about their needs and problems.

"Economic issues are dragging Gov. Malloy down," Schwartz said. "A bright spot for Malloy is that voters think he has strong leadership qualities and is honest and trustworthy."
 

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