Quinnipiac poll confirms Governor Malloy faces major obstacles should he seek re-election

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The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute released its latest poll today.  

While the Malloy political operatives will claim that the poll shows him leading the unknown Republican candidates and is tied with former gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, the data provides a harsh assessment of Malloy’s standing with the Connecticut electorate.

Despite Governor Malloy’s numerous proposals to “buy-back” support from key voting constituencies, Governor Malloy’s level of support has not improved over the past year and he clearly faces significant barriers should he attempt to run for re-election this year.

According to the new Quinnipiac Polling Institute survey, Malloy does not garner more than 44 percent of the vote against any Republican candidate and his overall favorability rating remains at a dismal level of 46 percent.

An incumbent’s favorability rating is one of the most important indicators of upcoming electoral success.

According to this new Quinnipiac Poll, Malloy’s favorability has not improved at all since the last Q-Poll which was done in June 2013 when his favorability rating was also 46 percent.

What should be of even more concern to Malloy’s political operation is his level of support among key voting groups that Malloy would need to win..

According to the poll,

  • One in five Democratic voters do not have a favorable opinion of Malloy. 

  • Malloy’s favorability among women doesn’t even reach 50 percent (now at 48%).

  • Only 41% of unaffiliated voters have a favorable opinion of Malloy.

Another key question that campaign experts study is  the one that asks, “Do you feel that Dannel Malloy deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?”  According to the Q-poll,

  • Only 45 percent of Connecticut voters say he should be elected 

  • And only 40 percent of unaffiliated voters believe Malloy deserves re-election.

And to make matters significantly worse for Malloy, six in ten voters are dissatisfied with the way things are going in Connecticut.

As political activists know, polls are only a “snapshot” of voter attitudes at the time the poll is taken.  Things can and do change in the course of an election. The Malloy operation will certainly try to spin the poll as good news but the truth is that the Quinnipiac Poll reveals that Malloy has completely failed to build up support despite his campaign year effort to use state budget initiatives to persuade voters to give him enough votes so that he can reach the 50 percent level that he needs to win in a head to head race for governor.

While the results of the Q-poll are interesting unto themselves, those who have studied the Connecticut political landscape for years will notice something that is even more interesting.

This Quinnipiac Poll was released on  March 4th, weeks after Malloy started his “campaign” to win back key constituencies.

In 1789 it was Benjamin Franklin who said, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

But here in Connecticut there has been one other constant.  At the beginning of each gubernatorial election year, the Quinnipiac University’s Polling Institute has conducted a Connecticut poll to measure the level of support of the incumbent governor and examine the status of the upcoming gubernatorial campaign.

Since the Quinnipiac poll started, there have been four gubernatorial election cycles.  Q-Polls were  released on,

  • February 18, 1998

  • February 14, 2002

  • January 12, 2006

  • January 21, 2010

But this year, the Quinnipiac Poll wasn’t conducted until much later, well after the incumbent governor has a chance to announce his election year initiatives in an attempt to improve his standing.

It is almost as if Quinnipiac University made a calculated decision to delay their regular Connecticut political poll long enough to give Malloy a chance to improve his numbers.

But when the Quinnipiac Polling Institute’s Director was asked about the timing today, he responded by saying that it is their policy not to discuss the timing of their polls.

Maybe it is just a coincidence that this year’s Q-Poll was conducted weeks after Malloy begin his efforts to push up his ratings higher.

New Haven politician lands a top job with Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor

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A former five-term member of the New Haven City Alderman who lost a Democratic Primary for the New Haven City Clerk’s job on September 10th has landed a state job with Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education. 

Sergio Rodriguez managed to submit his job application for the new position by the September 17th application deadline.  Although Rodriquez lacks a college degree and doesn’t have any background in K-12 public education, he started his state job on December 13th 2013 with a starting salary of $67,500.

Wasting no time, on December 15th Rodriguez tweeted, “Heading to Washington, D.C. tomorrow, looking forward to meeting folks who are working on improving educational outcomes for our most vulnerable young people.”

Considering the State Department of Education’s policies and procedures about hiring, it immediately stands out that Pryor hired a politician with no academic degrees.

A review of recent and pending job postings at the State Department of Education reveals that the Minimum Experience and Training required for every associate position in Pryor’s agency has been “An earned advanced degree and eight (5) years of relevant professional experience.”

Positions above the associate level at the State Department of Education have required a Minimum Experience and Training level of “An earned advanced degree and eight (8) years of relevant professional experience.

[For example, see pending State Department of Education job postings #58101, #811-62856, #826–58395, and #825-59479.]

But then along came the posting of the position that landed Sergio Rodriguez his new state job.

According to the legal job posting, instead of requiring any academic degree, the Minimum Experience and Training was simply listed as a “Demonstrated competence to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position as determined by the State Board of Education.”

The job posting did require, “Knowledge of the basic philosophy of education; knowledge of organizational behavior and planning; ability to plan educational policy; ability to prepare comprehensive reports…”

The job posting also explained that the position was, “to provide technical assistance to improve educational outcomes for children and youth involved with child protective services, the juvenile justice system, or alternative programs.  Key responsibilities will include providing assistance on the intersection of state and local responsibilities for the delivery of services to children and families of youth engaged with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Judicial Department, the Department of Correction (DOC), Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and other state agencies…”

Before Rodriquez served as a member of the New Haven Board of Alderman, he worked as a substance abuse coordinator for the City of New Haven and Chairman of the City’s Substance Abuse Commission.

Based on Sergio Rodriguez’ resume it appears that while he has background in some of the required areas, it is equally clear that he has no particular expertise, or even experience, in “basic philosophy of education” or “ability to plan educational policy.”

In another odd twist that may or may not raise conflict of interest issues, Rodriquez and his wife, Randi Rubin, formed a company called R Kids Inc., in the 1990s.  R Kids Inc. is an organization “committed to providing specialized, high quality services to children in out-of-home care and their families; promoting permanency, safety and stability for children through services to their biological, foster or adoptive families.”

Randi Rubin is the organization’s executive director collecting about $94,000 a year in salary and benefits.

Over the last eight year, R Kids Inc. has collected over $3.2 million in state grants primarily from the Department of Children and Families, one of the key state agencies Rodriquez will be directly working with on Pryor’s behalf.

In addition, R Kids Inc. has also received grant funds from the Department of Social Services, the Department of Environmental Protection and the New Haven Community Development Block Grant program.

The information provided to date doesn’t make it clear whether Sergio Rodriguez was the strongest candidate for the job but he did beat out other candidates with far more experience.

Regardless, the most interesting factor is that the State Department of Education created a job that required no college degree or any formal experience with the primary and secondary school system.

Also of note is the fact that Rodriquez was given a starting salary of $67,500 plus benefits which is a compensation package far in excess of what other state employees with only a high school degree are paid.

Of course, Wait, What? readers will recall that this is the same Commissioner Pryor that has been systematically decimating the professional staff at the State Department of Education by letting experts go and transferring others out of their key positions, all while hiring a $1 million out-of-state consulting firm that has sent in inexperienced consultants to run Pryor’s School “Turnaround Office” and his Commissioner’s Network Program.

How could a real challenge to Governor Malloy develop?

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Questions about whether a serious challenge to Governor Malloy could develop during next year’s gubernatorial election have been coming in on an almost a daily basis.

Readers have asked for some additional background on Connecticut’s election law.

When it comes to a potential challenge, there are two key issues.  One is the law related to getting on the election ballot.  The other is the law related to public financing of campaigns.  Here is a quick response to the ballot question.

Running for governor in 2014;

One possibility is that a challenger takes on Governor Malloy for the nomination of the Democratic Party.  That candidate would need to receive the support of 15 percent of the delegates to next spring’s Democratic State Convention or collect a sufficient number of petition signatures (of registered Democrats) to force an August primary.  Considering the power of incumbency, it is difficult to imagine that such a challenge would be successful.  That said, since Governor Malloy and his Administration have consistently alienated many of the most important constituencies within the Democratic Party, a successful challenge for the Democratic nomination is not inconceivable.

The second possibility is that a challenger seeks to get the support of one of the existing minor parties.  Each minor party has its own nomination rules.  Assuming the challenger comes from the more liberal or progressive side of the political spectrum, the most likely existing vehicle for a challenger would be to try and utilize the Connecticut Working Families Party.  The Working Families Party is closely associated with the leadership of a number of unions in Connecticut, a reality that might facilitate or serve as a barrier to a serious effort to challenge Governor Malloy.

Finally, a challenger to Governor Malloy could seek to petition onto the 2014 gubernatorial ballot.  Such a challenger could not begin collecting signatures until January 1, 2014 and would need to submit a complete petition no later than 90 days before the election.  The number of signatures needed to run for governor in Connecticut would be (1) One percent of the votes cast for the same office at the last preceding election, or (2) seven thousand five hundred, whichever is less.  In this case, the 1% figure would amount to about 11,600 so the lower number of 7,500 would be needed.

Considering past voting patterns, we’d expect around $1.2 million voters to participate in the 2014 election meaning a candidate would need in the range of 450,000 votes +/- win.  Of course, both Lowell Weicker (A CT Party) and John Rowland (Republican Party) were elected in three-way races for governor.

What do readers think would be the best course of action for Connecticut voters?

  • Run a candidate to challenge Governor Malloy for the Democratic nomination
  • Run a candidate on an existing minor party line such as the Working Families Party
  • Run a candidate as a “petitioning candidate” by collecting 7,500 signatures
  • Vote Republican
  • Stick with Governor Malloy
  • Don’t Know

If you’d like to register your opinion about these options – just click on the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7R8F53Y

 

Another great lesson about the art and science of interpreting public opinion surveys

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Yesterday, the Hartford Courant’s Rick Green posted an article entitled, “Malloy Approval Ratings Up, Support For Re-Election Still Tepid.”  Green wrote, “A new poll by the Yankee Institute finds that Mayor Dannel P. Malloy has his highest approval rating ever among voters…And while it looks like he faces a tough re-election fight, the governor is no longer trailing an un-named Republican opponent.”

The observation is not necessarily wrong, but it hardly provides the whole picture.

The “election question” was, “If Governor Malloy runs for re-election in the year 2014, will you probably vote for Governor Malloy or probably vote for the Republican candidate?”

According to the survey results;

42% said they will probably vote for Governor Malloy
39% said they will probably vote for the Republican candidate
19% said they are not sure they will vote for.

First off, the number saying that they will vote for Governor Malloy is only up from 39% (in June 2011).  That number is within what is called the statistical margin of error – meaning that it would be factually incorrect to say that he is definitely doing better.  The change could simply be the consequence of a different sample.

Of even more concern for Malloy is the probable vote by party;

Vote Party
Republican Democrat Other
Malloy 15% 74% 25%
Republican 73% 11% 44%
Don’t know 11% 14% 31%

 

To be blunt, having spent decades studying Connecticut’s elections results, a statewide Democratic candidate cannot win with 11% (1 in 10 Democrats voting for the Republican) and another 14% unsure if they will support the Democratic candidate

Second, while Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than a 2 to 1 margin, it is simply impossible to win a statewide election with the support of only 25% of unaffiliated voters.

That is not to say that things can’t change – but losing at least 10 percent of Democrats only getting the support of 25% of unaffiliated voters will mean certain defeat for Malloy.

Second, this early in the campaign cycle, many pollsters look to job approval ratings as a better indicator of future electoral outcome than questions about imaginary head to head campaigns.

 According to the new Yankee Institute Poll, 54% of Connecticut voters approve of the job Governor Malloy has been doing, 45% disapprove of Malloy’s performance and 2% are unsure.

The key is two-fold.  The first is looking at the number of voters who disapprove of an elected official’s performance because that provides the basis for opponents and the second is to particularly watch what is happening with Democrats and unaffiliated voters.

According to surveys produced by the Yankee Institute the percent disapproving of Malloy’s job performance has been as follows:

February 2011         46% disapprove
June 2011                   56% disapprove
February 2012         46% disapprove
February 2013         45% disapprove

 Except for the bounce after the 2011 legislative session, the percent of voters most receptive to anti-Malloy messages has remained virtually unchanged since he took office.

Finally, Malloy’s job performance rating by party provides the most worrisome information at all;

Malloy Job Performance Party
Republican Democrat Other
Strongly Approve 16% 34% 15%
Somewhat Approve 16% 43% 30%
Somewhat Disapprove 17% 13% 24%
Strongly Disapprove 48% 9% 31%
Don’t know 3% 2% 1%

 

Remembers, to win, a Democratic statewide candidate needs virtually unanimous support from Democrats and needs significant support, although not a majority, from unaffiliated voters.

As the job performance by party reveals, a stunning 22% of Democrats disapprove of Malloy’s performance and 55% of unaffiliated voters disapprove of the Governor’s performance.

The Democrat has consistently sought strategies to alienate important Democratic constituencies and this poll reiterates, again, the impact of that effort.  It is fair to say that as long as nearly 1 in 4 Democrats disapprove of Malloy’s job performance, he cannot win.

And strengthening that assessment is the fact that with such weak support among unaffiliated it would be virtually impossible to make up for the lost Democrats by increasing the percentage of support from unaffiliated.

Again, this doesn’t mean the election is “over,” but as we’ve learned, public opinion polling is an art and a science.  Three important factors are how the questions are worded, who is interviewed and whether the assessment of the data is put in context.

The results from the Yankee Institute survey are hardly good news for Team Malloy.

The Courant’s Rick Green highlights the Malloy administration’s approach to governance

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In Monday’s Capitol Watch, the Hartford Courant’s foothold in the political news blogosphere, Courant reporter Rick Green posted a piece that successfully portrayed the most fundamental element of the Malloy administration’s approach to governance – their dedication to political gamesmanship 24/7.

The headline read, “Roy v. Rob: Twitter Trash Talk Over Budget Deficit,” and included the text, “Who won this Twitter scrap between state Sen. Rob Kane and Malloy advisor Roy Occhiogrosso?  You decide, but I’d call it a draw. Read from the top down.”

Green was recounting a twitter squabble that took place over a three-hour period on Monday between Republican State Senator Rob Kane and Malloy’s top advisor, Roy Occhiogrosso.

In response to a “tweet” from the Republican State Senator about State Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s announcement that this year’s projected budget deficit had skyrocketed to $415 million and counting, Malloy’s $160,000 chief advisor (he makes more than the Governor), took the time out of his busy schedule to turn to twitter to trash the Republican State Senator.

At 10:33 am, the famously thuggish and bullying Occhiogrosso tweeted, “@SenatorKane32 yep still saying steady, strong, leadership beats running around w/ your hair on fire. You hiding in a bunker somewhere??”

At 11:00 am, Occhiogrosso added, “@SenatorKane32 we don’t take anything lightly but also don’t get hysterical. Rs tried this rap w/ voters last month – how’d that work out?”

And five minutes later, at 11:35 am, Occhiogrosso yelped, “@SenatorKane32 you tried pinning the state’s problems on him and voters rejected that argument. Thankfully they’re smarter than you think.”

Another two minutes and Occhiogrosso tweeted, “@SenatorKane32 Deficit is 1/10 what it was, unemployment is down, govt is smaller. You’re entitled to your own hysteria, not your own facts.”

Starting back up at 1:34 pm Occhiogrosso sent out a tweet saying, “@SenatorKane32 http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/ctnonfarmemployment.asp …

And then again at 1:39 pm added “@SenatorKane32 @ComptroLLembo nope, just you. Just like you were here: http://www.ctmirror.org/story/17858/mcmahon-christie …, and here: http://www.ctmirror.org/story/17673/roraback-esty-race-study-different-strategies …

Of course, right off the bat, two issues become apparent.

First, as an aside, this year’s $415 million dollar deficit and next year’s 1.1 billion shortfall IS NOT “1/10th what it was,” when Malloy took office.  (Occhiogrosso’s tweeter feed reveals that he made similar claims when he attacked CT Mirror reporter Keith Phaneuf for writing a piece, a couple of weeks ago, about the growing budget deficit).

But more to the point, Occhiogrosso’s tirade is more than a commentary on the Malloy Administration’s sense of propriety and priorities.  Engaging in political activities, while on state time, is rather frowned upon under Connecticut state law.  In fact, it is illegal and people have been fired for the offense.

And as if the exchange with State Senator Kane wasn’t a strong enough indication that Occhiogrosso uses his twitter account is engage in political activities during work hours, his twitter record is ripe with other examples.

A few days earlier, upon news that Tom Foley was considering running for Governor again, Occhiogrosso again took time out from his state job to send out a flurry of tweets including one that read “…”Tom Foley=Mitt Romney http://www.ctmirror.org/story/6930/fedele-hits-foley-hard-new-ad-over-business-failure …” and another in which Occhiogrosso tweeted a picture of Foley and Romney writing, “a match made in heaven: pic.twitter.com/3EEkdbEd

In fact, Occhiogrosso’s tweeter feed tells a lengthy story of political positioning and dialogue while he is supposed to be doing the people’s business.

Two days after the election, for example, Malloy’s top advisor engaged in more than a dozen exchanges with a Republican political operative while he was supposed to be working.  In one he tweeted, “ just admit your strategy was wrong, and that you got waxed. Rs facebook status: back @ the drawing board.”

While these violations of law are relatively minor, they speak volumes about how important political positioning is to this administration.

Occhiogrosso’s actions are quite a commentary about how the Governor and the Governor’s Chief of Staff are either unwilling or unable to keep the office staff focused on the role of governing, letting them instead waste time and taxpayer funds engaged in arrogant and mean-spirited efforts to attack anyone and everyone who criticizes this administration.

“Malloy sees vindication in 2012 election results” – Really?

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The shift to the 2014 gubernatorial campaign kicked into gear even before the 2012 candidates had given their acceptance and concession speeches last week.

As the polls closed this year, Chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic Party wrote, “Now that voters have spoken, here’s what we know — Governor Malloy wins, the Republicans lose, and the people of Connecticut win,”

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman introduced Malloy by saying, “The one constant in all the turmoil that all the people of Connecticut has endured is the rock steady command of their governor.”

The CT Mirror, CTNewjunkie and other media outlets ran stories about the Governor and the Republicans trying to out-do each other with arguments about what this year’s election results mean for Governor Malloy’s expected attempt to seek a second term.

And, as is their style, Malloy and his inner circle mocked the Republican legislative leadership.

The CTMirror led the discussion with a story entitled, “Malloy sees vindication in 2012 election results”

The fact is, Governor Malloy’s post-election comments were a reminder that he and his political operatives have never left campaign mode and aren’t about to change that strategy as they focus on the 2014 election cycle.

Speaking to the media last Thursday, Malloy reiterated his vow to, “balance the next budget without new taxes.”  No new taxes, despite the fact that although the Malloy Administration claimed the state deficit was only $60 million in the days before the election, by Friday after the election, they admitted that the actual deficit was closer to $300 million and growing.

So what did the 2012 election really reveal about the 2014 gubernatorial campaign?

Every election signals, to some degree or another, what the electorate is thinking, but to suggest that these results are good news for Governor Malloy or that they vindicate his performance is, as the saying goes, a bit optimistic.

According to all the available polling information around the country, Governor Malloy remains the least popular Democratic governor in the nation.

Here are the facts;

President Obama got about 58% of the vote in Connecticut.

In its last public opinion survey in late October, the Quinnipiac poll had the President beating Romney 55 to 41 percent with 4 percent saying that they didn’t know who they’d be voting for this year.  Extrapolate out the people who said “don’t know” and the Q-Poll hit the mark when compared to the actual results.  It was also very close with the Murphy vs. McMahon race.

So what did it take for Obama to get 58 percent of the vote on Election Day 2012?

The President’s favorable “job performance” rating with Connecticut voters was 56 percent.

Obama’s favorable rating among Democrats was a stunning 92 percent, and he even had a 50 – 48 percent favorable rating with the all-important, Republican leaning, unaffiliated (independent) voters.

However, while Connecticut voters had a very positive opinion of President Obama’s job performance, they only give Governor Malloy an overall positive job performance rating of 45 percent.

More to the point, Malloy’s favorable number among Democrats was only 66 percent, a stunning 26 percentage points below the President’s rating.

And in a state in which a state-wide Democratic candidate cannot win without a good portion of the independent or unaffiliated voters, only 39 percent of unaffiliated voters give Governor Malloy a favorable job performance rating.

It is only November 2012, there is still time, but the last thing the Malloy Administration should want is for the media, or anyone else, to be looking into the 2012 numbers for guidance about 2014.

In fact, the one conclusion the leaps out, is the data reveals that Malloy’s low job rating among Democrats, and especially among women, is so low that it bolsters the notion that if someone chose to challenge Malloy for the Democratic nomination, it most certainly wouldn’t be a cakewalk for the incumbent.

Take for example, the depth of feeling among those who, at least, say they have a favorable opinion of the job Malloy is doing as Governor.

Of the 92 percent of Democrats who approve of the job President Obama is doing, seven in ten (69 percent) of those Democrats say they STRONLGY APPROVE of the job Obama is doing.

Of those same Democrats, less than 4 in 10 (38 percent) say that they STRONGLY APPROVE of the job Governor Malloy is doing.

The polling data reveals that Connecticut’s Democrats do not strongly support the incumbent Democratic Governor.  This situation is reiterated by the news that 1 in 5 Democrats actually disapprove of the Governor’s job performance.

As bad as the news is for a potential Democratic Primary, the news for Malloy is even worse when it comes to a potential General Election match-up.

While a quarter of all unaffiliated voters STRONGLY APPROVE of the job President Obama is doing, a breathtakingly insignificant 8 percent of unaffiliated voters STRONGLY APPROVE of the job Malloy is doing.

Equally troubling is that where 41 percent of all women voters STRONGLY APPROVE of the job the President has been doing, only 16 percent of all women voters STRONGLY APPROVE of the job Malloy is doing.

One thing is clear is that Malloy and the State Republicans were engaged in so much political spin about what the 2012 election meant for the 2014 race last week, that they both lost contact with reality and the truth.

Cut through all the bull, and the truth is that the Malloy and his political operation should be extremely worried about this year’s election results.  When one in five Democratic voters has a negative opinion of Malloy’s job performance, it is definitely time to worry about the level of support among the Democratic base.   This should come as no surprise to Malloy’s people, considering the way he has treated state employees, teachers and other core Democratic constituencies.

However, that said, it is premature to say too much about 2014 considering Governor Malloy still has the 2013 Legislative Session to rebuild his level of support among the Democratic base – or further undermine their level of support – as he moves toward the 2014 election cycle.

For those familiar with polling data, here are the numbers that paint the troubling situation facing Governor Malloy.  For those who haven’t read a lot of polls, just look to the numbers in bold.  No one should underestimate just how serious these numbers are.

Obama Job Rating October 2012

Total

Rep

Dem

Ind

Men

Women

Approve

56

8

92

50

50

61

Disapprove

42

90

6

48

48

37

DK/NA/

2

2

2

2

2

3

Malloy Job Rating October 2012

Total

Rep

Dem

Ind

Men

Women

Approve

45

23

66

39

45

45

Disapprove

41

62

20

49

46

38

DK/NA/

14

15

13

12

9

18

Data by intensity of opinion
Obama Job Rating October 2012

Total

Rep

Dem

Ind

Men

Women

Strongly Approve

37

3

69

26

32

41

Somewhat Approve

19

5

23

24

18

20

Somewhat Disapprove

7

8

1

11

9

5

Strongly Disapprove

35

82

5

38

39

32

DK/NA/

2

2

2

2

2

3

Malloy Job Rating October 2012

Total

Rep

Dem

Ind

Men

Women

Strongly Approve

14

4

28

8

12

16

Somewhat Approve

30

19

38

31

33

28

Somewhat Disapprove

16

19

10

18

19

13

Strongly Disapprove

26

42

10

30

27

25

DK/NA

14

16

14

32

9

18

 

You can find the CTMirror story here: http://www.ctmirror.org/story/18157/malloy-sees-vindication-2012-election-results and the CT Newsjunkie story here: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/malloy_who_me/

The New Normal: When in doubt, resort to insults.

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“If they’re not paying attention, it’s not my obligation to read to them everything that’s happened…”                –  Governor Dan Malloy at the June 29, 2012 Bond Commission Meeting

Last Friday, the State Bond Commission met to allocate funds for various capital projects and Ken Dixon, the Connecticut Post’s capitol reporter, wrote about a moment that drives home the tone that pervades Connecticut and American politics these days.

The actual issue related to a $2.8 million grant to Bridgeport and the North End Boys & Girls Club to fix up a building to be used as a youth center.  Apparently the legislature approved the funding a dozen years ago, but “political squabbling” in Bridgeport, has kept the project from getting off the ground. Last month, the Malloy Administration put the project on the Bond Commission Agenda so that the funds could be allocated, but then quietly removed it from the agenda the day of the meeting.

In response, this past Friday, Andrew Roraback, a Republican State Senator who serves on the Bond Commission, complained that he hadn’t realized the item had been removed and that Governor Malloy, who chairs the Bond Commission Meetings, should have been clearer when he pulled the item off the agenda.

Roraback pointed out that it was the Governor’s duty to inform “the press, the public and most importantly, fellow bond commission members that there had been a material change in the composition of the agenda.” Roraback’s position was that the Governor hadn’t been clear.

According to Dixon, to that Governor Malloy said that it wasn’t his job to make sure Senator Roraback was paying attention.  Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s chief advisor, even followed up a bit later by going to the press room and telling the media, “Let’s talk about what this is really about: He’s running for Congress…He should run for Congress outside the building.”

Now, I have no idea if Senator Roraback was trying to garner media attention or not, although my guess is he was genuinely concerned that a fairly significant change was made to the meeting’s agenda and, in fact, the action wasn’t sufficiently explained.

However, that particular piece of information is irrelevant.  Malloy and Occhiogrosso, like all good politicians, know perfectly well that elected officials and candidates are constantly seeking ways to use opportunities to get quoted in the media.

The strange part of the whole story is that both Malloy and Occhiogrosso chose to use the moment to insult Roraback’s character.

For the Governor who ran on a platform of “transparency,” why not simply say I’m sorry if I didn’t properly explain the change in the agenda.  We’ll try to do better next time. [And in fact, that is what OPM Secretary Barnes did separately do.]

But for reasons that remain a bit of mystery, the standard operating procedure, these days, is to insult your opponent’s character rather than discuss and debate the substance of the issue.

For more on this story read:  http://onlyinbridgeport.com/wordpress/bridgeport-battle-at-bond-commission/#more-34520

Memo to Connecticut Democrats (ONLY); All others should skip this post

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[Now that it is just us Democrats here; let’s take a moment to talk politics].

There were seven new Democratic Governors elected in the United States in 2010.  Today, when it comes to measuring each governor’s support from members of their own party;

One new Democratic governor’s job performance rating among Democrats is +80 percent

Two new Democratic governors are about +65 percent

Two new Democratic governors about are about +55 percent

One new Democratic governor one is at +45 percent

And then, according to the last Quinnipiac poll, one new Democratic governor is at a breathtakingly low +19 percent.

That is right – there is a Democratic governor whose support among his own party is only a positive 19 percent.  Less than one-quarter of the support the most popular new Democratic governor has….and that lowest in the nation governor is Dannel Malloy.

The “Education Reform” Debate:

Governor Malloy and the proponents of his “education reform” bill often claim that Connecticut’s legislators should pass Malloy’s version of Senate Bill #24 because “the voters support education reform” and “every other state is doing it.”

In his state of the state speech, Malloy talked about these reforms being adopted in 35 other states.  ConnCAN’s CEO, Patrick Riccards, likes to say that “Connecticut’s reform bill is mild compared to that in other states.”

As we now know, both statements are false.

But more importantly, we are taught early in life that just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t mean we should and as Democrats, we believe that public policy should be driven by doing the right thing rather than what is politically expedient according to public opinion polls. (Although, truth be told, it isn’t even accurate to claim that Connecticut voters “support” these education reforms.  They support having better schools but are mixed on some of the individual proposals.)

In any case, while we don’t believe in governance by polling, we Democrats do recognize the importance of representing our constituents, especially those who took the time to go to the polls to cast their votes for our candidates.  After all, that is why America is called a ”representative democracy.”

In Connecticut, Democrats win when we have strong support from our political base and do fairly well among unaffiliated voters.  Since Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than a 2-1 margin at the statewide level, when Democrats receive overwhelming support from Democratic voters, our candidates can actually win with a minority of unaffiliated voters.  Of course at the congressional and legislative level, in order to be successful, candidates must get a big Democratic vote and the majority of unaffiliated voters in order to be victorious.

The gubernatorial election of 2010 was a perfect example.  Dan Malloy won that election with just 49 percent of the popular vote.  According to the last Quinnipiac Poll, released just hours before the election, 88 percent of Democrats intended to vote for Dan Malloy, 9 percent of Democrats intended to vote for Tom Foley and only 3 percent were undecided or said that they would vote for someone else.

That 88 percent, along with a minority of unaffiliated voters, gave the Democrats control of the governor’s office after 20 years.

Now here we are – eighteen months later.

One of the most traditional ways to understand voter attitudes is to measure an elected official’s “job-performance” rating.  While job performance is not a perfectly predictor of how people will vote in the future, it is a fairly good indicator of the overall level of support among various sub-constituencies such as party affiliation.

Last week, Quinnipiac University released a new poll revealing that 37 percent of all Connecticut voters’ approved of the way Governor Malloy is handling his job, 44 percent disapprove of his job performance and 19 percent are undecided or neither approve or disapprove of the way he is conducting his job as governor.

Quite frankly, it is far too early to worry too much about the overall numbers; besides, we know that the key measure is where Democrats stand, since in the end, a strong Democratic base is the fundamental building block to a successful election.

To date, Governor Malloy’s strategy has often been to confront and attack key constituencies within his own party.  Last year Governor Malloy proposed record budget cuts, including cuts to services that are traditionally supported by Democrats.  He also entered into a long and confrontational battle with our state employees.

This year, under the guise of “education reform,” Malloy has proposed the most anti-teacher, anti-union “education reform” bill of any Democratic governor in the nation.

In the forty years since public employees won the right to collectively bargain, no Connecticut governor; Democrat, Republican or Independent has ever proposed that collective bargaining be banned for a group of public employees.  But that is exactly what Governor Malloy has done.

The Governor’s job performance rating is a measurement of the impact his confrontational approach has had with key constituencies within the Democratic Party.

The following chart indicates how Connecticut Democratic voters rate Governor Malloy’s job performance.  In politics we use a statistic that measures the rate of approval compared to the rate of disapproval – we call that the overall positive or negative rating of an individual (i.e. +/-). The higher the positive rating the better the candidate or elected officials is doing.

Malloy Job Approval Democratic Voters

Approve

Disapprove

Don’t Know

+/-

March 2011

51

24

25

+27

June 2011

52

29

25

+23

September 2011

56

35

9

+21

March 2012

64

27

10

+37

April 2012

51

32

17

+19

 

Except for a bounce in March 2012, what is particularly noteworthy is Governor Malloy’s job performance rating, among Democrats, has been trending dramatically downward since the day he took office.

Malloy versus other new Democratic Governors;

In addition, what has been happening with Governor Malloy becomes even more pronounced when one looks at where Malloy stands against the other new Democratic governors around the nation. (There were seven new Democratic governors in the Class of 2011).  All data here are from recent, independent public opinion surveys.

Job Approval

Approve

Disapprove

Don’t Know

+/-

Brown (CA)

69

15

15

+54

Cuomo (NY)

79

15

5

+65

Dayton (MN)

85

5

10

+80

Hickenlooper (CO)

73

9

18

+64

Kitzhaber (OR)

56

11

32

+45

Shumlin (VT)

71

14

15

+57

 

Shocking is rather an understatement.

In Minnesota, Governor Dayton just vetoed an “education reform” bill that was being pushed by 50CAN, the national outgrowth of ConnCAN and formed by the same people who founded Achievement First.  Even before vetoing that bill, Dayton’s support among Minnesota Democrats was +80 percent compared to Malloy’s + 19 percent among Democrats.

Again, as noted above, we Democrats do not lead by poll results but we also have a fundamental duty to look at whether we are successfully representing the people who put us in office.

It is time to have an honest discussion about what happens when a governor spends his time confronting and alienating some of the most basic elements of our party.

When in doubt, just say it doesn’t matter; Malloy’s Job Approval Rating Drops 7 Percent in a Month

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Malloy’s Job Approval Rating Drops 7 percent in a month

With today’s Quinnipiac Poll reporting that only 37% of the voters approve of the way Governor Malloy is doing his job and only 38% approve of the way he is handling education policy, Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s mouthpiece and spin-master, is absolutely right to say;

“We have tried to be consistent in not saying much about polls because…what’s there to say?  Polls come and go, numbers go up and down.  The Governor always does what he thinks is best for the state and the right thing to do.”  – Occhiogrosso 4-25-12

Polls do come and go and – as the cliché goes – the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day!

That said, after what is probably close to $1 million in television and radio ads supporting the Governor’s “Education Reform” proposal, ads that repeatedly complimented him by name, it is pretty telling that his job performance rating has dropped 7 percent in the last 30 days (from 44% positive to 37% positive).

Furthermore, only 4 in 10 voters support his education plan.

His negative rating on both job performance and on his education policies are particularly high among women – who, as Occhiogrosso and every political observer knows – is the most significant voting bloc in electoral politics.

From today’s Quinnipiac Poll:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Dannel Malloy is handling his job as Governor?

Total Republicans Democrats Unaffiliated Men Women
Approve 37% 19% 51% 39% 30% 35%
Disapprove 44 64 32 41 45 43
Don’t Know 19 18 17 20 15 22
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Dannel Malloy is handling – Education?
Total Republicans Democrats Unaffiliated Men Women
Approve 38% 26% 47% 38% 39% 37%
Disapprove 43 52 37 41 40 45
Don’t Know 20 22 16 21 21 18

 

The Quinnipiac Poll has its own host of issues when it comes to how reliable a measure it is over where likely voters stand, for someone who won with 49 percent of the vote – almost all of that coming from Democratic voters – it is extremely telling that only 51 percent of Democrats approve of Malloy’s job performance and he doesn’t even get to 50% of Democrats supporting him on his education policy.

For the full survey results check out http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/search-releases/search-results/release-detail?ReleaseID=1739&What=&strArea=1;&strTime=0


Using mental health as a political weapon….

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In the spring of 2009, long before the campaign for governor really took shape, I received a number of phone calls from Connecticut reporters seeking my opinion in my capacity as a “long-time Democratic political analyst.”

Since I was not supporting any of the potential gubernatorial candidates at the time, reporters knew they could come to me for an unbiased assessment of how various developments might impact the race for governor.

Following the second arrest of one of Dan Malloy’s sons there was talk, within political circles, about whether Malloy should or could now successfully run for Governor.  One of the other gubernatorial contenders, Jim Amann, Connecticut’s former Speaker of the House went so far as to announce that if he was in Malloy’s shoes he would have immediately dropped out of the race.

Only weeks before, Mark Pazniokas wrote a powerful article for the New York Times entitled “A Public Couple Knows a Private Pain Isn’t Unique.” In the article Dan and Cathy Malloy spoke passionately about their love for their son and challenges that families face when dealing with a family member who has emotional or mental health problems. More

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