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."