CT-Sen: Chris Dodd Tanking
by Todd Beeton, Thu Apr 02, 2009 at 10:33:43 AM EDT
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows some real trouble for Chris Dodd in Connecticut in the wake of the AIG bonus fiasco. Not only is Dodd trailing every potential Republican challenger:
Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd trails former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, a possible Republican challenger, 50 - 34 percent in the 2010 Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today...
Matched against two other possible Republican challengers, Sen. Dodd trails both State Sen. Sam Caligiuri 41 - 37 percent and former ambassador Tom Foley 43 - 35 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.
...but Dodd's favorability and approval ratings have just plummeted:
...voters disapprove 58 - 33 percent of the job the Democratic incumbent is doing, his lowest approval rating ever. [...]
The incumbent's approval is down from 49 - 44 percent March 10.
Dodd gets a negative 30 - 58 percent favorability rating, compared to 39 - 12 percent favorable for Simmons with 47 percent who don't know enough to form an opinion.
In Quinnipiac's poll from a month ago, Dodd was down just 1 point. This suggests that the DK/R2000 poll from last week, which showed Dodd slightly ahead of Simmons, may have been overly sanguine or didn't fully register the impact of the attacks on Dodd over the AIG bonuses. You'll recall that Dodd had originally added an amendment to the stimulus package that was extremely tough on compensation restrictions but ended up stripping its retro-activity at the urging of Treasury and was dishonestly implicated in essentially allowing the AIG bonuses to be paid out. Dodd's real error was his reaction to these accusations where he appeared to deny then admit involvement, predictably reported as a flip flop in local media. That was at its peak during the week of March 16th (Rob Simmons laid AIG at Dodd's feet on March 19th); this poll was in the field from March 26-31. The success of the anti-Dodd campaign by the rightwing can be seen most clearly in this result from the Quinnipiac poll:
Asked which public official is most to blame for the AIG bonuses:
- 28 percent blame former President George W. Bush;
- 27 percent blame Dodd;
- 20 percent blame Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner;
- 7 percent blame President Barack Obama.
Dodd has to be seen as our most vulnerable incumbent at this point and as Chris Bowers notes, it's hard to see him recovering from this:
...if the Q-poll is correct, than this is better than the advantage Bob Casey started out with against Rick Santorum in 2005, and akin to the advantage Tom Udall started with in New Mexico in 2007. Both of those campaigns ended up in 17.36% and 22.66% blowouts respectively, as the incumbent and incumbent party never recovered. I'd be hard pressed to find any incumbent Senator that has ever recovered from a 16% deficit.
The one way to ensure that we keep the seat would be for Dodd to step aside and let CT Attorney General Richard Blumenthal jump in. Dodd has insisted that he has no intention of stepping aside but that was before a poll showed him with a double digit deficit. If subsequent polls confirm Quinnipiac's findings, I think Dodd's really got to revisit that decision.