July 22, 2009 - Connecticut Gov. Rell's High Approval Is Lowest Ever, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Slam Legislature In Budget Stalemate

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Plagued by a sagging economy and a state budget stalemate, Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell's approval rating has dropped to 65 - 30 percent, her lowest overall score ever but still much higher than governors in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and Ohio with similar problems, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Connecticut voters disapprove 45 - 39 percent of the way the State Legislature is doing its job, down from a 45 - 38 percent approval in a May 9, 2007 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University. Voters approve 50 - 42 percent of the way Gov. Rell is handling the state budget and disapprove 56 - 29 percent of the way Democrats in the State Legislature are handling the budget.

A total of 88 percent of Connecticut voters say the failure to adopt a state budget by the July 1 deadline is a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem. Democrats in the legislature are mostly to blame, 29 percent say, while 16 percent blame Rell; 14 percent blame Republicans and 26 percent blame everyone equally.

"Gov. Jodi Rell's honeymoon with Connecticut voters just won't end, despite a recession and a budget stalemate," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD.

"She has defied political gravity for five years by almost always topping 70 percent in job approval, and enjoying high marks not only among Republicans and Independents but Democrats as well. The love affair with Democrats is wearing thin, but she's still in very good shape.

"While the economy and budget battle are taking a small toll on Gov. Rell's popularity, she is doing much better than governors in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, all with negative approval scores in recent Quinnipiac University polls."

"If Rell is down a step or two, the Democrats are tumbling down the stairs," Dr. Schwartz added. "Approval of the Democratically controlled State Legislature is below 40 percent and more blame the Democrats than Rell for the late budget."

By a 60 - 30 percent margin, Connecticut voters would rather cut services than raise taxes to balance the state budget.

But voters support 71 - 27 percent raising the state income tax for individuals making at least $265,000 per year and couples making at least $500,000. The measure wins 90 - 9 percent support from Democrats and 71 - 26 percent support from independent voters, while Republicans oppose it 57 - 40 percent.

Voters reject 55 - 42 percent that argument that raising taxes will force wealthier residents to move out of Connecticut.

Voters also support 51 - 45 percent raising taxes on corporations and 72 - 26 percent raising the cigarette tax an additional 75 cents a pack. Even Republicans support the cigarette tax 64 - 34 percent.

Governor Rell's Prospects

A total of 58 percent of Connecticut voters, including 40 percent of Democrats, say they "definitely" or "probably" will vote for Rell for reelection in 2010.

Rell has done an "excellent" job as Governor, 12 percent say, while 45 percent say she has done a "good" job; 33 percent say "fair" job and 9 percent say she has done a "poor" job.

Connecticut voters like Jodi Rell: 54 percent like her as a person and like most of her policies, while 30 percent like her as a person even as they don't like most of her policies.

Looking at Rell's qualities, voters say:
  • 84 - 11 percent that she is honest and trustworthy;
  • 76 - 21 percent that she has strong leadership qualities;
  • 53 - 37 percent that she shares their views on issues about which they care.
"With scores like these, Jodi Rell is a formidable candidate if she decides to run for a second full term in 2010," Schwartz said.

From July 16 - 20, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,499 Connecticut registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data and RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.
13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling her job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              65%    81%    49%    70%    67%    62%
Disapprove           30     14     45     25     31     30
DK/NA                 5      5      6      5      2      8
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              78%    56%    68%    63%    59%
Disapprove           20     37     27     31     35
DK/NA                 2      7      6      7      6
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling her job as Governor? (*Low also 65% 7/1/08)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jul 22  May 27  Apr 02  Mar 10  Feb 10  Jan 13  Jul 22
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2005    2009
 
Approve              65      73      72      75      75      83      65
Disapprove           30      20      22      19      19       3      30
DK/NA                 5       7       6       6       6      14       5
 
 
14. Would you say that Jodi Rell has done an excellent, good, fair, or poor job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Excellent            12%    23%     5%    12%    12%    12%
Good                 45     51     39     48     46     45
Fair                 33     20     41     32     32     33
Poor                  9      3     14      8     10      9
DK/NA                 1      2      1      -      1      1
 
 
15. Regardless of your overall opinion of Jodi Rell, what do you think is the best thing she has done as Governor?
                                                                      JRappQ13
                            Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Approve
 
Handling of budget/
 Budget cuts/ Taxes         23%    39%    14%    22%    30%    17%    31%
Overall good decision
 maker/Fair/Open minded      4      3      3      4      4      4      5
Honest/Restored trust/
 Turned state around
 after Rowland mess         11      9     10     13     13     10     13
Education                    3      1      5      2      1      4      3
Support of Death Penalty     1      2      1      1      1      1      1
Money for mass transit/
 Highways                    1      1      2      1      -      2      1
Other                       14      8     15     14     14     13     11
Nothing                      4      1      6      2      3      4      -
Don't know/Can't say/
 Not sure                   40     35     44     40     33     46     35
 
 
16. Regardless of your overall opinion of Jodi Rell, what do you think is the worst thing she has done as Governor?
                                                                      JRappQ13
                            Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    DisApp
 
Handling of budget/
 Budget cuts/Taxes          23%    19%    26%    24%    22%    24%    34%
Handling of Health care      5      3      6      5      5      5      7
Handling of Education        3      2      3      2      2      3      5
State workers/Furloughs      3      2      3      2      3      2      4
Support of Gay marriage/
 Civil unions                2      4      2      1      2      2      3
Handling of
 Transportation issues       1      1      1      1      1      1      1
Support of Death penalty     1      1      1      1      1      1      1
Other specify               15     10     19     15     18     13     28
Nothing                      5      6      3      5      5      5      -
Don't know/Can't say/
 Not sure                   43     51     37     44     40     45     17
 
 
17. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              39%    25%    54%    36%    37%    41%
Disapprove           45     61     31     47     51     40
DK/NA                16     14     15     17     12     19
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Jul 22  May 9   Feb 15  Jun 3   Nov 21  Oct 9   Jul 31
                     2009    2007    2007    2004    2003    2003    2003
 
Approve              39      45      47      48      38      35      29
Disapprove           45      38      34      33      45      49      57
DK/NA                16      17      18      19      18      16      14
 
 
20. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Richard Blumenthal is handling his job as State Attorney General?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              79%    70%    87%    79%    78%    80%
Disapprove           13     22      7     12     16     10
DK/NA                 8      8      6      9      6     10
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Richard Blumenthal is handling his job as State Attorney General?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jul 22  May 27  Mar 10  Feb 10  Jul 27  Mar 10  Nov 23
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2005    2009    2004
 
Approve              79      78      81      79      73      81      71
Disapprove           13       9      10      12      14      10      15
DK/NA                 8      13       9       9      13       9      13
 
 
23. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Connecticut today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Very satisfied        3%     3%     4%     1%     2%     3%
Smwht satisfied      45     42     52     42     43     47
Smwht dissatisfied   35     33     32     38     36     34
Very dissatisfied    17     22     12     18     19     15
DK/NA                 1      1      -      1      1      1
 
TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Connecticut today? Very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                                                             VERY+SMWHT SAT
                                                             High    Low
                     Jul 22  May 27  Mar 10  Feb 10  Dec 17  Oct 21  Mar 13
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    1998    2003
 
Very Satisfied        3       3       3       4       2      21       4
Smwht Satisfied      45      53      39      37      41      62      32
Smwht Dissatisfied   35      29      36      38      35      14      34
Very Dissatisfied    17      13      21      21      20       3      29
DK/NA                 1       2       1       1       1       -       1
 
 
24. How likely are you to vote to re-elect Jodi Rell for Governor in 2010, do you think you will definitely vote for her, probably vote for her, probably not vote for her, or definitely not vote for her?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Definitely           15%    34%     5%    13%    14%    15%
Probably             43     47     35     48     43     43
Probably not         19      8     28     16     18     19
Definitely not       16      5     23     14     17     14
DK/NA                 8      5      8      9      7      9
 
TREND: How likely are you to vote to re-elect Jodi Rell for Governor in 2010, do you think you will definitely vote for her, probably vote for her, probably not vote for her, or definitely not vote for her?
                     Jul 22  Dec 17  Jul 1
                     2009    2008    2008
 
Definitely           15      14      13
Probably             43      40      40
Probably not         19      18      20
Definitely not       16      13      13
DK/NA                 8      14      13
 
 
25. Which one of the following statements comes closest to the way you feel about Jodi Rell - A) I like Jodi Rell as a person and I also like most of her policies, B) I like Jodi Rell as a person but I don't like most of her policies, C) I don't like Jodi Rell as a person but I do like most of her policies OR D) I don't like Jodi Rell as a person and I also don't like most of her policies?
                            Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
A) Like person and policies 54%    72%    40%    57%    54%    54%
B) Like person not policies 30     16     41     28     30     29
C) Like policies not person  2      2      2      3      3      1
D) Not policies not person   8      3     12      6      8      7
DK/NA                        6      7      6      7      5      8
 
TREND: Which one of the following statements comes closest to the way you feel about Jodi Rell - A) I like Jodi Rell as a person and I also like most of her policies, B) I like Jodi Rell as a person but I don't like most of her policies, C) I don't like Jodi Rell as a person but I DO like most of her policies, D) I don't like Jodi Rell as a person and I also don't like most of her policies.
                            Jul 22  Jul 1   May 9
                            2009    2008    2007
 
A) Like person and policies 54      53      62
B) Like person not policies 30      28      23
C) Like policies not person  2       2       2
D) Not policies not person   8       7       5
DK/NA                        6      10       8
 
 
26. What do you think is the most important problem facing Connecticut today?
                            Tot
 
Economy Total               45%
 Economy general            10
 Unemployment/Jobs          30
 Cost of living              2
 Business leaving/
  Outsourcing                2
 Economy other               1
 
Budget Total                21%
 Budget general              8
 Budget cuts/Cuts in
  services                   2
 Budget deficits             6
 Gov too big/Gov spending    2
 Lack of/Late budget         1
 Budget priorities           2
 
Taxes Total                 12%
 Taxes general               8
 Property tax                2
 Income Tax                  1
 Taxes other                 1
 
Healthcare costs/Ins/HMO's   5%
 
Education Total              3%
 Education general           1
 Funding education           1
 Education other             1
 
Crime/Violence general       1
Housing General              1
Transportation general       1
Politicians General          1
 
Other                        3
DK/NA                        4
 
TREND: What do you think is the most important problem facing Connecticut today? (additional trend points available on request)
                            Jul 22  Dec 17  May 9   Jun 8   May 2   Feb 16
                            2009    2008    2007    2006    2006    2006
 
Budget/Spending Total       21%      6%      1       2%      1%      2%
Crime Total                  1       1       1       8       3       4
Economy Total               45      59      22      19      22      27
Education Total              3       5       8       9       7      10
Energy costs Total           -       1       5       7      15       1
Healthcare Total             5       3       8       3       3       4
Housing Total                1       -       -       -       -       -
Immigration                  -       1       2       2       2       -
Politicians/Campaigns Tot    1       2       1       1       2       3
Taxes Total                 12      14      29      21      20      22
Transportation/DMV Total     1       2       4       6       8       7
Other                        3       2       2       4       4       4
DK/NA                        4       3       6       7       5       7
 
 
27. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling taxes?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              47%    62%    33%    51%    50%    44%
Disapprove           43     29     55     39     43     43
DK/NA                10      9     11     11      7     13
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling - taxes?
                     Jul 22  Apr 6
                     2009    2005
 
Approve              47      40
Disapprove           43      37
DK/NA                10      23
 
 
28. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling the job situation in Connecticut?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              42%    59%    35%    41%    44%    41%
Disapprove           43     26     52     43     43     42
DK/NA                15     15     13     16     13     17
 
 
29. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling the state budget?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              50%    67%    35%    55%    53%    48%
Disapprove           42     26     56     37     40     43
DK/NA                 8      7      9      8      7      9
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling the state budget? (*Governor Rell)
                     Jul 22  Feb 10  Apr 6   Feb 18
                     2009    2009    2005    2005*
 
Approve              50      66      54      51
Disapprove           42      22      20      29
DK/NA                 8      13      26      20
 
 
30. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Democrats in the state legislature are handling the state budget?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              29%     9%    49%    24%    27%    31%
Disapprove           56     84     34     61     62     52
DK/NA                14      6     17     15     11     17
 
 
31. Would you say that Jodi Rell is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  84%    91%    80%    86%    85%    82%
No                   11      6     13     11     13     10
DK/NA                 5      4      6      4      2      7
 
TREND: Would you say that Jodi Rell is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     Jul 22  Jan 12  Jul 27  Jan 13
                     2009    2006    2005    2005
 
Yes                  84      83      87      82
No                   11       7       5       3
DK/NA                 5      11       8      14
 
 
32. Would you say that Jodi Rell has strong leadership qualities or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  76%    82%    69%    80%    74%    79%
No                   21     15     27     17     24     18
DK/NA                 3      3      4      3      3      4
 
TREND: Would you say that Jodi Rell has strong leadership qualities or not?
                     Jul 22  Jul 27  Jan 13
                     2009    2005    2005
 
Yes                  76      82      79
No                   21      11       7
DK/NA                 3       7      14
 
 
33. Would you say that Jodi Rell shares your views on issues that you care about or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  53%    73%    39%    55%    54%    52%
No                   37     20     54     31     36     37
DK/NA                10      7      8     14     10     10
 
TREND: Would you say that Jodi Rell shares your views on issues that you care about or not?
                     Jul 22  Jul 27  Jan 13
                     2009    2005    2005
 
Yes                  53      64      60
No                   37      21      15
DK/NA                10      15      25
 
 
45. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling the economy?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              54%    67%    43%    56%    56%    53%
Disapprove           35     24     45     32     34     35
DK/NA                11      9     12     12     11     12
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling the economy?
                     Jul 22  Mar 10  Feb 10
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              54      68      67
Disapprove           35      24      23
DK/NA                11       8      10
 
 
46. Do you think Governor Rell's policies have helped Connecticut's economy, hurt Connecticut's economy, or haven't made a difference?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Helped               28%    37%    20%    29%    29%    27%
Hurt                 18     13     25     15     18     19
No difference        46     44     48     47     45     47
DK/NA                 7      6      7      8      7      7
 
 
47. Looking forward, do you think Governor Rell's policies will help Connecticut's economy, will hurt Connecticut's economy, or won't make a difference?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Will Help            40%    57%    30%    42%    42%    39%
Will Hurt            19     14     28     15     19     20
No difference        33     23     33     35     32     33
DK/NA                 8      6      9      7      7      8
 
 
48. Do you think Governor Rell's policies have helped your personal financial situation, hurt your personal financial situation, or haven't made a difference?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Helped                7%    12%     3%     8%     8%     6%
Hurt                 18     13     22     16     19     17
No difference        73     73     73     73     70     75
DK/NA                 2      2      2      3      3      2
 
 
49. Looking forward, do you think Governor Rell's policies will help your personal financial situation, will hurt your personal financial situation, or won't make a difference?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Will Help            20%    30%    16%    20%    23%    18%
Will Hurt            21     12     25     20     19     22
No difference        52     51     53     52     52     53
DK/NA                 7      6      6      8      6      7
 
 
64. Connecticut has not had a budget since July first, the start of the fiscal year. Do you think that the state's failure to pass a budget is a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, a not too serious problem or not a problem at all?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Very serious         52%    53%    50%    54%    52%    52%
Smwht serious        36     33     39     35     32     39
Not too serious       8     11      9      7     11      6
Not a problem at all  2      2      1      1      4      1
DK/NA                 2      2      1      2      2      1
 
TREND: Connecticut has not had a budget since July first, the start of the fiscal year. Do you think that the state's failure to pass a budget is a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, a not too serious problem, or not a problem at all?
                     Jul 22  Jul 31
                     2009    2003
 
Very serious         52      58
Smwht serious        36      34
Not very serious      8       5
Not serious at all    2       2
DK/NA                 2       2
 
 
65. Who do you think is most to blame for the state's failure to pass a budget, Governor Rell, the Republicans in the state legislature, or the Democrats in the state legislature?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Governor Rell        16%     4%    25%    14%    16%    17%
Republicans in leg   14      1     31      8     11     17
Democrats in leg     29     68      9     28     36     23
BLAME ALL(VOL)       26     21     18     34     26     27
DK/NA                14      7     16     15     10     17
 
 
 
66. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Raising taxes        30%     8%    51%    26%    25%    35%
Cutting services     60     82     41     64     68     54
DK/NA                10     10      9     10      7     12
 
TREND: To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Jul 22  Feb 10  Mar 13
                     2009    2009    2003
 
Raising taxes        30      23      38
Cutting services     60      67      46
DK/NA                10      10      16
 
 
67. To help balance the state budget, would you support or oppose raising the income tax for individuals earning more than $265,000 annually and for couples earning more than $500,000 annually?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              71%    40%    90%    71%    65%    75%
Oppose               27     57      9     26     33     22
DK/NA                 2      3      1      3      2      3
 
 
68. To help balance the state budget, would you support or oppose raising taxes on corporations?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              51%    26%    70%    50%    43%    58%
Oppose               45     70     26     46     55     36
DK/NA                 4      4      5      4      2      6
 
 
69. To help balance the state budget, would you support or oppose raising taxes on cigarettes an additional 75 cents a pack?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              72%    64%    84%    68%    65%    78%
Oppose               26     34     15     29     33     20
DK/NA                 2      3      1      3      2      2
 
 
70. Do you think an increase in taxes is necessary to balance the budget or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  48%    31%    65%    44%    47%    48%
No                   45     64     28     49     48     43
DK/NA                 7      5      7      7      5      8
 
TREND: Do you think an increase in taxes is necessary to balance the budget or not?
                     Jul 22  Mar 10
                     2009    2009
 
Yes                  48      32
No                   45      63
DK/NA                 7       5
 
 
71. Some people say that raising the state income tax rate on wealthier residents will lead them to move out of Connecticut. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Agree                42%    67%    21%    45%    45%    39%
Disagree             55     31     73     52     52     57
DK/NA                 4      3      6      3      3      4