Chris Dodd’s approval rating has sunk to 33 percent in Connecticut in a new Quinnipiac poll, which the director of the survey calls “unheard of for a 30-year incumbent, especially a Democrat in a blue state.” If an election were held today, Dodd would lose to Rob Simmons 50 percent to 34 percent, and he’s also behind other potential Republican comers:
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 (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.
In the Dodd-Simmons matchup, Democrats back Dodd by only 58 – 27 percent while Simmons leads 87 – 6 percent among Republicans and 56 – 25 percent among independent voters.
Also, 39 percent of voters say they blame Dodd “a lot” for the AIG bonus mess, and 35 percent say they blame him “some.”
Another factor that the poll doesn’t take into account is that Dodd has received so much scrutiny over his financial industry contributors, that he may have difficulty raising as much money as he otherwise would have, potentially neutralizing another incumbent advantage.
While Republicans are no doubt salivating at their oppourtunity here, they shouldn’t get too far ahead of themselves. If things continue to look this bad for Dodd, he’ll most likely be challenged in the Democratic primaries, perhaps by Ned Lamont, who of course won the 2006 Democratic primary against Joe Lieberman before Lieberman became an independent. And in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, a Democrat without Dodd’s baggage would have a good chance of holding the seat, especially because ads will Rebulicanize somebody like Simmons in a general election. For that reason, I’d be curious to see how Simmons would poll against other Democrats.
Either way, this is not a seat you would have considered in serious danger a few months ago. Obama carried Connecticut by 22 points in November, and Dodd was reelected in 2004 with 66 percent of the vote.
UPDATE: a DailyKos diarist snarls:
Dodd has been in congress for 35 years, and a senator for 5 terms. It’s no shame if he starts thinking about retirement. Democrats have a strong bench: AG Richard Blumenthal, Ned Lamont, or one of several congresspeople could step and hold the seat without too much trouble.
I just hope Dodd does not follow the course of his father, who cost the Democrats a senate seat in 1970.
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