Both Dan Malloy and Jim Amann responded to this morning’s Quinnipiac University poll that showed them trailing Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz by wide margins. Said Malloy:
When I ran for Governor in 2006, there wasn’t a single public poll that showed me within shouting distance of my Democratic opponent — yet I won the Democratic Convention and came within a few thousand votes of winning the Democratic primary. Almost two years in advance of Election Day, the conversation among Democrats about who is best-positioned to win the general election in 2010 has just begun, and it’s a conversation I’m eager to have. When the time is right, I’m confident our Party will nominate the candidate who has a proven track record of creating jobs, balancing budgets, holding down taxes, raising test scores in schools, building affordable housing, and lowering crime – all while effectively and efficiently managing government.
I remember one response that Malloy had to this same question back in 2005, that by the day of the primary, voters going into the booth would know who the candidates were. This is very true. Bysiewicz does have higher name recognition, and that will be a boon to her, but by next August the race should be much closer. It’s worth pointing out that Malloy’s numbers climbed steadily through 2006, though he fell just short at the end to John DeStefano.
Jim Amann also dismissed the poll, though he made a rather bold prediction as well. From a release sent around by the Amann campaign:
Former state Speaker of the House James A. Amann today said he is not worried about the recent Quinnipiac poll numbers saying “it’s much too early to read anything meaningful into it.”
Amann, who tomorrow night officially kicks off his campaign for governor, says the numbers are no surprise. “The two other Democrats included in the poll have run statewide previously. And in the case of the secretary of state, multiple times. The poll reflects that. This early on, simple name recognition will get you numbers,” he said.
Amann also noted that he is increasing his support in a head-to-head match-up against Governor Rell. “As in the case of Dick Blumenthal, I don’t think the governor will run. That will clear the way for us to pick up Rell supporters as we move forward.”
Well, if Jodi Rell wasn’t running for re-election before, she will be after seeing that (in fact…)! What, is he daring her to get in?
Amann kicks off his campaign tomorrow night at the Klein in Bridgeport.
GOP Chairman Chris Healy also responded to the poll, gleefully sending out an update to his party’s email list saying that Dodd had fallen into a “dark hole” and said of Jodi Rell: “Gov. Rell remains very popular at 75 percent because people trust her and see her as fair, level headed and a strong leader.”
First Read and other national media picked up on Dodd’s absolutely miserable numbers. He is in trouble, there is no doubt about it, and Rob Simmons’ name is the one that’s coming up most often as his potential opposition. There was also a lengthy article in the subscription-only Roll Call about a potential Simmons challenge (thanks to all those who sent that article to me!). Here’s a quote from the article:
Although Simmons was coy about 2010, he touted his service as an aide to former Sens. John Chafee (R-R.I.) and Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) as proof of his ability to straddle the spectrum of the Republican Party. Simmons was also fast to criticize Dodd for not foreseeing the economic crisis as chairman of the Banking panel, as well as not disclosing the details of a well-publicized deal he got on a mortgage for his home.
“Sen. Dodd has disappointed a lot of his supporters up here in Connecticut with his activities over the last several years,” Simmons said. “He left the state, moved to Iowa, to pursue what turned out to be a frivolous attempt to run for president of the United States of America.”
It’s not hard to see both Iowa and Dodd’s mortgage as potential lines of attack, and Simmons is a very tough campaigner. If he did run, he would pull no punches. How would Dodd react to sustained, high-profile criticism from a legitimate opponent? No one has any idea, as it has never happened.
For Amann and Malloy, there’s lots of time to make up ground on Susan Bysiewicz, whose lead is most likely very soft as people are not even remotely tuned into the next governor’s race. Dodd, however, would seem to have more to worry about. I wish Quinnipiac had polled a matchup between Dodd and Simmons. Maybe next time.