September 16, 2009 - Connecticut Voters Say Gov. Rell Copped Out On Budget, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Governor's Approval Drops To All-Time Low

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Connecticut voters say 56 - 34 percent that Gov. Jodi Rell "copped out" by her refusal to either sign or veto the recently enacted state budget, and disapprove 52 - 42 percent of her handling of the state budget, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Gov. Rell gets a 59 - 34 percent overall approval rating, down from 65 - 30 percent in a July 22 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. But she still does better than governors in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio, states where Quinnipiac University has conducted surveys in recent months.

And Connecticut's Governor has a much higher approval rating that the State Legislature, which has a negative 35 - 55 percent score, its worst score since July 2003. Voters disapprove 61 - 28 percent of the way Democrats in the legislature are handling the state budget.

Voters split 45 - 44 percent in their approval of the way Rell is handling the job situation in Connecticut and disapprove 49 - 44 percent of the way she is handling taxes.

"By a hefty 22-point margin, voters think that by allowing the budget to become law without her signature or veto, Gov. Jodi Rell copped out," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD.

"Gov. Rell's approval is down six points to 59 percent. She has hit an all-time low, although neighboring governors would love to have those numbers.

"Democrats can't take comfort in these numbers, since their score on the budget is much lower than the Governor's."

"But Democrats might hope that the Rell juggernaut finally has hit a pothole, which could set the stage for a competitive race for Governor next year."

"There was some thought that with Sen. Christopher Dodd's reelection campaign dominating the headlines that nobody would pay much attention to the Democratic candidates for Governor, ensuring another landslide victory for Rell," Dr. Schwartz added.

"If her job approval continues to decline, that could change."

Connecticut voters disapprove 45 - 26 percent of the new state budget. On other budget-related questions the Quinnipiac University poll finds:
  • Voters who disapprove of Rell's failure to act on the budget say 54 - 34 percent that she should have vetoed it;
  • Voters split 46 - 44 percent on whether more budget cuts should have been made or whether additional cuts would have jeopardized vital services;
  • Voters feel 48 - 45 percent that state leaders should have kept working on the budget, no matter how long it took;
  • 81 percent of voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that the budget relies too much on borrowing.
Key elements of the budget receive wide voter support, including:
  • 74 - 24 percent in favor of higher taxes for upper income individuals and families;
  • 65 - 32 percent support cutting the sales tax from 6 percent to 5.5 percent;
  • 68 - 30 percent in favor of raising cigarette taxes from $2 to $3 per pack.
But voters disapprove 66 -28 percent of cutting estate taxes for the wealthy. Even Republicans disapprove 52 - 36 percent.

"Among those who disapprove of Gov. Rell's decision to not sign the budget bill, most think she should have vetoed it," Schwartz said. "Nearly half of voters think spending could have been cut more; two-thirds disapprove of cutting estate taxes for the wealthy and over 80 percent are concerned about the level of borrowing."

From September 10 - 14, Quinnipiac University surveyed 921 Connecticut registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 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              59%    75%    44%    63%    56%    61%
Disapprove           34     20     44     33     38     31
DK/NA                 7      4     12      4      6      8
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              73%    59%    44%    55%    48%
Disapprove           18     35     44     38     49
DK/NA                 9      6     12      6      3
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling her job as governor?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Sep 16  Jul 22  May 27  Apr 2   Mar 10  Jan 13  Sep 16
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2005    2009
 
Approve              59      65      73      72      75      83      59
Disapprove           34      30      20      22      19       3      34
DK/NA                 7       5       7       6       6      14       7
 
 
14. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              35%    26%    46%    31%    26%    41%
Disapprove           55     67     41     58     65     46
DK/NA                11      7     13     10      9     12
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              36%    31%    26%    39%    32%
Disapprove           54     59     62     46     61
DK/NA                10     10     12     15      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Sep 16  Jul 22  May 9   Feb 15  Jun 3   Jun 3   Jul 31
                     2009    2009    2007    2007    2004    2004    2003
 
Approve              35      39      45      47      48      48      29
Disapprove           55      45      38      34      33      33      57
DK/NA                11      16      17      18      19      19      14
 
 
17. 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              78%    69%    85%    77%    74%    82%
Disapprove           14     23      7     14     18     10
DK/NA                 8      8      7      9      8      8
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              78%    76%    82%    80%    78%
Disapprove           12     13     12     16     14
DK/NA                10     11      6      5      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Richard Blumenthal is handling his job as State Attorney General?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Sep 16  Jul 22  May 27  Mar 10  Feb 10  Mar 10  Nov 23
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2004
 
Approve              78      79      78      81      79      81      71
Disapprove           14      13       9      10      12      10      15
DK/NA                 8       8      13       9       9       9      13
 
 
19. 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%     -      6%     2%     4%     2%
Smwht satisfied      38     34     47     35     29     46
Smwht dissatisfied   35     37     31     37     39     31
Very dissatisfied    23     27     15     25     27     20
DK/NA                 1      2      1      1      1      1
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Very satisfied        4%     -      -      6%     2%
Smwht satisfied      44     41     26     36     33
Smwht dissatisfied   34     34     46     31     39
Very dissatisfied    17     24     28     24     25
DK/NA                 1      1      -      2      2
 
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
                     Sep 16  Jul 22  May 27  Mar 10  Feb 10  Oct 21  Mar 13
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    1998    2003
 
Very Satisfied        3       3       3       3       4      21       4
Smwht Satisfied      38      45      53      39      37      62      32
Smwht Dissatisfied   35      35      29      36      38      14      34
Very Dissatisfied    23      17      13      21      21       3      29
DK/NA                 1       1       2       1       1       -       1
 
 
20. 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           14%    23%     7%    16%    13%    15%
Probably             43     52     36     43     43     43
Probably not         21     10     28     23     21     21
Definitely not       16      5     25     13     18     15
DK/NA                 6      9      4      6      6      6
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Definitely           23%    11%     5%    15%     4%
Probably             48     45     38     40     37
Probably not         17     16     25     23     32
Definitely not        7     20     23     18     20
DK/NA                 5      8      9      4      7
 
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?
                     Sep 16  Jul 22  Dec 17  Jul 1
                     2009    2009    2008    2008
 
Definitely           14      15      14      13
Probably             43      43      40      40
Probably not         21      19      18      20
Definitely not       16      16      13      13
DK/NA                 6       8      14      13
 
 
21. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling - taxes?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              44%    56%    36%    45%    40%    47%
Disapprove           49     38     58     46     53     45
DK/NA                 8      6      6      9      7      8
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              57%    45%    34%    40%    31%
Disapprove           34     48     60     54     61
DK/NA                10      7      6      7      8
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling - taxes?
                     Sep 16  Jul 22  Apr 6
                     2009    2009    2005
 
Approve              44      47      40
Disapprove           49      43      37
DK/NA                 8      10      23
 
 
22. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling - the job situation in Connecticut?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              45%    55%    36%    50%    42%    47%
Disapprove           44     31     56     40     50     40
DK/NA                11     15      8     10      8     13
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              56%    47%    33%    38%    40%
Disapprove           29     45     60     49     54
DK/NA                14      8      7     13      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling - the job situation in Connecticut?
                     Sep 16  Jul 22
                     2009    2009
 
Approve              45      42
Disapprove           44      43
DK/NA                11      15
 
 
23. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling - the state budget?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              42%    57%    28%    47%    42%    42%
Disapprove           52     38     67     48     53     52
DK/NA                 5      5      6      5      4      6
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              56%    38%    35%    40%    32%
Disapprove           40     55     60     54     65
DK/NA                 4      7      5      6      3
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jodi Rell is handling - the state budget? (*Governor Rell)
                     Sep 16  Jul 22  Feb 10  Apr 6   Feb 18
                     2009    2009    2009    2005    2005*
 
Approve              42      50      66      54      51
Disapprove           52      42      22      20      29
DK/NA                 5       8      13      26      20
 
 
24. 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              28%     5%    54%    20%    22%    33%
Disapprove           61     85     36     68     73     51
DK/NA                11     10     10     12      5     16
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              23%    34%    23%    31%    25%
Disapprove           61     60     65     59     64
DK/NA                16      6     12     11     11
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Democrats in the state legislature are handling the state budget?
                     Sep 16  Jul 22
                     2009    2009
 
Approve              28      29
Disapprove           61      56
DK/NA                11      14
 
 
29. How much have you heard or read about the new state budget that was just enacted by Connecticut - a lot, some, not much or nothing at all?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
A lot                19%    17%    17%    21%    23%    15%
Some                 51     60     48     50     48     54
Not much             22     19     26     21     20     24
Nothing at all        7      4      8      8      8      6
DK/NA                 -      -      -      -      -      -
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
A lot                18%    21%    19%    19%    16%
Some                 51     53     54     44     61
Not much             19     18     26     31     18
Nothing at all       12      7      -      5      5
DK/NA                 -      1      -      -      -
 
 
30. Do you approve or disapprove of this new state budget?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              26%    15%    32%    28%    25%    28%
Disapprove           45     54     37     47     53     39
DK/NA                28     31     31     26     22     34
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              28%    26%    20%    28%    24%
Disapprove           39     51     51     40     52
DK/NA                33     23     29     32     24
 
 
31. Governor Rell said the state should have cut more in spending but she allowed the budget to become law without signing it to end the budget stalemate. Do you approve or disapprove of her action?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              43%    36%    41%    47%    40%    46%
Disapprove           51     55     54     47     55     47
DK/NA                 7      9      6      6      6      7
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              46%    45%    37%    46%    31%
Disapprove           45     50     59     46     65
DK/NA                 9      5      4      8      4
 
 
32. (If disapprove q31) Do you think she should have signed or vetoed the budget bill?
                     DISAPPROVE Q31........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Signed               34%    18%    49%    31%    31%    37%
Vetoed               54     78     38     55     61     48
DK/NA                12      5     13     14      8     15
 
 
33. Do you believe Governor Rell showed courage in the budget battle or do you think she copped out by neither signing or vetoing the budget bill?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Showed courage       34%    35%    27%    38%    29%    37%
Copped out           56     51     64     52     62     51
DK/NA                11     14      8     10      9     12
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Showed courage       34%    39%    31%    32%    28%
Copped out           49     56     59     55     65
DK/NA                17      4      9     13      7
 
 
34. Which comes closer to your point of view - the state budget should have cut more spending or any additional cuts in spending would have jeopardized vital state services?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Cut more spending    46%    69%    25%    52%    58%    37%
Jeopardized services 44     22     62     41     37     50
DK/NA                 9      9     12      7      4     13
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Cut more spending    48%    51%    51%    39%    47%
Jeopardized services 38     41     45     53     44
DK/NA                14      7      5      7      9
 
 
35. Which comes closer to your point of view - this isn't a perfect budget, but I'm relieved the state finally has one, or this budget has big problems and the state should have kept working on it no matter how long it took?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Relieved             45%    28%    55%    45%    41%    48%
Shd hv kept working  48     61     39     49     55     42
DK/NA                 7     11      7      6      4      9
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Relieved             45%    50%    34%    45%    40%
Shd hv kept working  42     45     64     48     55
DK/NA                13      5      2      6      5
 
 
36. Do you think that Governor Rell's fight for more spending cuts and fewer tax increases made the Democrats pass a better budget than they would have, or do you think it just slowed down the budget process unnecessarily?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Made better budget   38%    46%    28%    41%    42%    35%
Slowed down process  47     36     59     45     46     48
DK/NA                15     18     13     14     12     17
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Made better budget   46%    36%    41%    35%    35%
Slowed down process  38     50     50     48     53
DK/NA                16     14      9     17     13
 
 
37. How concerned are you that the state relied too much on borrowing to solve the budget deficit - very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not concerned at all?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Very concerned       39%    50%    23%    47%    48%    32%
Smwht concerned      42     42     49     37     38     46
Not too concerned    13      7     20     12      9     17
Not concerned at all  4      1      6      3      4      3
DK/NA                 1      1      2      -      1      1
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Very concerned       38%    40%    48%    40%    38%
Smwht concerned      43     42     40     41     45
Not too concerned    10     16     13     13     15
Not concerned at all  7      2      -      4      2
DK/NA                 2      1      -      1      1
 
 
38. (INTRO to Q38-41, order rotated) Please tell me whether you approve or disapprove of the following items in the state budget. Do you approve or disapprove of - raising the income tax on individuals who earn more than 500,000 dollars annually and couples who earn more than one million dollars annually?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              74%    52%    91%    73%    70%    77%
Disapprove           24     46      7     24     28     20
DK/NA                 2      2      2      2      1      3
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              63%    74%    76%    79%    82%
Disapprove           34     24     24     18     15
DK/NA                 3      2      -      2      3
 
 
39. (See INTRO at Q38) Do you approve or disapprove of - cutting the sales tax from 6 percent to 5.5 percent?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              65%    66%    66%    65%    64%    65%
Disapprove           32     27     32     33     34     30
DK/NA                 4      7      2      3      2      5
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              65%    63%    59%    69%    60%
Disapprove           27     35     40     28     38
DK/NA                 8      2      1      2      2
 
 
40. (See INTRO at Q38) Do you approve or disapprove of - raising the cigarette tax to 3 dollars a pack from 2 dollars?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              68%    68%    71%    65%    63%    72%
Disapprove           30     30     27     33     35     26
DK/NA                 2      2      2      2      2      2
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              72%    69%    62%    66%    65%
Disapprove           26     26     36     32     34
DK/NA                 2      4      1      2      1
 
 
41. (See INTRO at Q38) Do you approve or disapprove of - cutting estate taxes for the wealthy?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              28%    36%    25%    28%    28%    28%
Disapprove           66     52     72     68     67     66
DK/NA                 6     12      3      4      5      6
 
                                          MdlSex Toll,Wndm
                     Farfld Hrtfrd Lchfld NewHvn NewLon
 
Approve              35%    30%    30%    24%    20%
Disapprove           56     65     65     72     76
DK/NA                 9      5      5      4      3