Today, a new poll on the race for governor was released and it shows a very tight race for governor...as well as the impact Pelto's candidacy could have on Gov. Malloy's re-election aspirations.
In a recent survey in Connecticut, Vox Populi Polling found that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley is in striking distance of Democrat incumbent Dannel Malloy. The survey also indicates that Education and Democracy Party candidate Jonathan Pelto is not doing Malloy any favors. With months to go until the November election, Malloy only leads Foley 35 to 34 percent with Pelto picking up 3 percent and 27 percent of voters undecided. Among independent voters, Foley leads Malloy 36 to 24 percent. Further, the majority of respondents said that they disapprove of Malloy's performance as Governor.
"Republicans have a potential pick up opportunity in Connecticut," said Vox Populi Polling pollster Brent Seaborn. "With the majority of voters disapproving of Dannel Malloy's performance as Governor and a third party candidate in the race, this seat is prime for Tom Foley's taking."
METHODOLOGY: The sample size for the survey is 550 active voters taken from a listed sample of registered voters who voted in the 2010 or 2012 general election or registered since the 2012 general election. The margin of error is +/- 4.2%. 443 interviews were completed using automated telephone technology and 107 were conducted using mobile-based survey technology. All interviews were conducted July 27- July 28, 2014 by Vox Populi Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.
It would be interesting to see a poll that shows what impact Joe Visconti's candidacy would have on Tom Foley's numbers.
Here is the statement I released in response to the news that the Working Family Party has endorsed "four more years" of Governor Dannel Malloy. You can read the WFP statement below;
Pelto: "Working Families Party put politics before policy by endorsing Malloy - Uses endorsement to mislead voters"
While it is unfortunate, the Working Families Party's endorsement of Governor Dannel "Dan" Malloy is not surprising. Rather than hold Malloy responsible for his anti-working family policies, the group has thrown their support behind an incumbent who has squandered the opportunity to stand up and do the right thing for the real working families of Connecticut.
Worse, the WFP leadership is using their endorsement to mislead the people of the state.
In their endorsement, the Working Party falsely states;
We were one of the few states to balance the budget by asking the super-rich to pay their fair share instead of cutting essential services.
And while some states eliminated workers' rights to collectively bargain, we expanded that right to more workers
But the truth is Governor Malloy IS THE ONLY DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR IN THE NATION to propose doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in so-called "turnaround schools."
Not only did Dan Malloy fail to support the fundamental rights of unionized workers but he has consistently worked to undermine the teaching profession and the rights and work of state and municipal employees. Malloy's corporate education reform industry proposals were in opposition to everything the WFP is supposed to stand for.
And the WFP's claim that Dannel Malloy asked the "super-rich" to pay their fair share would be funny if it wasn't such a serious example of how Malloy has failed during his time in office. When Connecticut's families were asked to pay higher income tax rates, Malloy actually FAILED to increase the rate on those making more than $1 million because, as he told a joint session of the Connecticut General Assembly, he didn't want to "punish success." Malloy's failure to promote a fair and equitable tax structure is legendary and revealing. Coddling the rich and burdening the middle class working families with a disproportionate tax burden, such as the state's largest gas tax increase in history, are just two examples of Malloy's failure when it comes to his tax policies.
The Working Families Party endorsement is disappointing but not surprising. They have proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they put politics before policy and that is a sad commentary indeed.
At risk of stating the obvious, the latest NYT/CBS poll of the Connecticut governor's race is devastating to incumbent Dan Malloy -- in particular its assessment of the Democrat's standing among independent voters, who constitute the state's largest voting bloc. In a look at gubernatorial races across the country, in which he affirmed the conventional wisdom that Republicans are likely to do well this fall, Nate Silver recently opined that Tom Foley has a 58% chance of winning versus Dan Malloy's 42% in a head-to-head rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial contest -- probabilities based mainly on a small sample of publicly available polling. Malloy's 42% odds are likely to get even worse with the new results from NYT/CBS (methodological flaws notwithstanding).
But here are six reasons why early polling and Nate Silver might be wrong, and Dan Malloy remains the slight favorite to win re-election:
1) No incumbent governor has lost re-election in Connecticut since Republican John Davis Lodge lost to Abe Ribicoff in 1954. When it comes to picking its governors, Connecticut is truly the Land of Steady Habits.
2) This time there's a level playing field for campaign spending. Foley spent $13 million on his 2010 campaign (about $11 million in the general election), more than twice what Malloy spent. Because both Malloy and Foley are participating in public financing this time, the two candidates are on a level playing field, each receiving $6.5 million from the Citizens Election Program to use in the general. There could be millions of dollars in outside spending as well, but Malloy could benefit from independent expenditure money as much as Foley, especially if former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control PAC spends on his behalf.
3) Tom Foley has a media problem. When Foley claimed that his baseless allegations about corruption in the Malloy administration met a "journalistic standard," he was essentially insulting everyone in the media. During the resulting blowback, Foley compounded his problem by attempting to portray himself as a victim of the liberal media, though even GOP-friendly pundits like Chris Powell and disgraced former governor John Rowland were saying that Foley had only himself to blame for his disastrous appearances on WNPR and Face the State. Foley has also told transparent lies such as claiming that he hadn't been fined by the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) for improper campaign expenditures, when it was perfectly obvious and easily prove-able that he had. Rule of thumb: if you're going to lie to the media, at least tell them a good one! Foley's bizarre behavior has established an unflattering media narrative that he is a hypocrite (lobbing ethics charges at Malloy while being fined by SEEC) and a practitioner of serial "truthiness" (repeatedly making things up) that will be difficult to dispel.
4) Voters For Good Government. Foley's meddling in legislative races through his Super PAC (called "Voters for Good Government") has given elected Democrats extra incentive to destroy him. In 2012, Voters for Good Government (of which, it was later revealed, Foley served as treasurer) ran ads against half a dozen state senate Democrats in the last few weeks before the November election. In some of the races, the Super PAC money dwarfed all other spending by the two candidates. Not only did Foley's meddling upset a lot of voters, but also you can bet that the targeted legislators are going to be working extra hard to pay Foley back.
5) The power of incumbency. When Malloy announced last week that he would support nearly $3 million in bond funding for a new Metro-North train station on the east side of Bridgeport, his GOP rivals cried foul. Malloy knows how to use the governor's office in perfectly legitimate ways that also happen to benefit himself politically -- and his opponents know it, too, which is why they protest so vehemently at each new bonding announcement that might help to rally Malloy's base.
6) Joe Visconti. If Visconti runs as an independent (he says he already has the 7500 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot), he has the potential of taking more votes from Tom Foley than Jonathan Pelto takes from Dan Malloy. (In 2010, right-leaning Independent Party candidate Tom Marsh won almost 18,000 votes for governor -- three times Malloy's margin of victory, and almost twice as many votes as Green Party gubernatorial candidate Cliff Thornton received in 2006.) Many Democrats may be lukewarm about Malloy, but Visconti has a cult-like following among tea party groups and second amendment activists that surpasses any support Pelto currently enjoys from the left.
Malloy is vulnerable, but he has some latent advantages that may not be reflected in current polling, and could give him just enough of a boost to eke out a win in November.
I'm often asked why, considering I'm a life-long Democrat, I am "leaving" the Democratic Party and running as an independent for Governor. I start by explaining that as hard as it is to run as an independent, I thought the institutional barriers to winning a Democratic Primary were even greater.
But then I add that, to be blunt, I don't believe I am "leaving" the Democratic Party, I believe the Democratic Party has left me and tens of thousands of other people who understand that many Democratic leaders have turned their backs on Democratic ideals, principles and constituencies in order to kowtow to the corporate elite.
The state's largest city will feature two high-profile primaries for State Senate and State House respectively.
Political activist and healthcare professional Marilyn Moore is challenging three-term Democratic State Senator Anthony Musto in the city-suburban district that covers Trumbull and parts of Bridgeport and Monroe. This is the seat Bill Finch occupied prior to his election as mayor in 2007. The Bridgeport portion covers the North End, West Side and Black Rock, the higher-turnout areas of the city. If you're placing bets put your money on Moore to win Bridgeport and Musto to win his suburban base. How well each performs in the other's base will decide this. The good news for Musto? He has a record to run on. The bad news for Musto? He has a record to run on. Can Moore exploit his record to her advantage? Musto has the support of the city's political establishment, Moore the backing of reformers opposed to the direction of the city.
City Librarian Scott Hughes hopes to turn the page on freshman State Senator Andres Ayala. Connecticut's 23rd Senate District encompasses roughly two-thirds of Bridgeport and a portion of western Stratford. Ayala, former City Council president and State House member, knows how to work absentee ballots among his Latino voter base as evidenced by absentee ballot requests flooding the Town Clerk's Office. There's been little direct public engagement between the two campaign camps, opting to make their case in mail pieces, door knocks and phone calls that generally decide primaries. For Hughes to win this primary he must perform well on the machines to offset Ayala's absentee ballot advantage.
Andres Ayala's cousin State Rep. Christina Ayala is trying to piggyback on his absentee ballot operation to fend off three opponents, party-endorsed Chris Rosario, Fire Commissioner Dennis Bradley and Teresa Davidson in Connecticut's 128th State House District. The Ayala political family can often be coy about familial support. "Our family is our family and the people will decide." That means even when they don't get along (and sometimes they don't), it still provides wiggle room to access respective support, thus Christina knocking on the doors of absentee ballot folks toiled by her cousin. Rosario, the city's blight chief, enjoys the support of Mayor Bill Finch's political operation. They, too, know how to scour votes in the lowest-performing voting area of the city covering the East Side and Hollow neighborhoods. Bradley is trying to pick off votes of anti-establishment electors. Can the fire commissioner powerwash the city establishment?
Rarely in city politics do complete opposites square off like in Connecticut's 124th State House District. Incumbent Don Clemons backed away from reelection when former legislator Ernie Newton decided to seek his former State House seat. Newton won the endorsement, but then elements of the party opposed to Newton prevailed upon Board of Education member Andre Baker, including supporters of Finch, to take on Newton in a primary. Newton, the self-proclaimed Moses of his peeps, seeks a comeback following his incarceration on federal corruption charges nearly 10 years ago. Newton is a media lightning rod with deep roots in the city's East End. Baker is a low-key owner of an East End funeral home. Newton and Baker had worked together on common candidates they supported, but now they are going toe to toe.
Two weeks until the primary and Tom Foley still has no details when it comes his plans for the state.
To say Tom Foley is keeping his cards close when it comes to his plans to fix state finances might be an understatement.
The Greenwich businessman and Republican gubernatorial contender's positions on key income and business taxes and public-sector wages are guarded at best.
Washington - Thousands of Connecticut residents will get rebate checks or other types of credit from their health insurance companies. They are getting those refunds because the federal government says they paid too much for coverage last year.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that Aetna must return $266,816 to those who bought the company's individual health plans in Connecticut in 2013 and Oxford Health Insurance and Oxford Health Plans, both divisions of UnitedHealthcare, must refund more than $2.6 million to those who purchased their large group plans last year.
That's because the Affordable Care Act sets a limit on the amount of premium dollars a company can earn over the claims, taxes and fees it has to pay, a formula called the medical loss ratio. For individual policies, that ratio can't be more than 80/20, for large group plans it is 85/15.
In a report, HHS said more than 69,000 individuals and families in Connecticut will receive refunds. Those covered by Aetna's individual policies will receive an average of $14. Those covered by UnitedHeathcare's group policies will receive an average of $183.
"We are pleased that the Affordable Care Act continues to provide Americans better value for their premium dollars," said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. "We are continuing our work on building a sustainable long-term system, and provisions such as the 80/20 rule are providing Americans with immediate savings and helping to bring transparency and accountability to the insurance market over the long-term."
But the best news for the GOP may actually be how well its incumbent governors perform. Kansas's Sam Brownback, in huge trouble in every recent poll, is ahead here by a whopping 13 percent. The same goes for Georgia's Nathan Deal, up a dominant 9 percent, and Florida's Rick Scott, up 6 percent. Ohio's John Kasich is up 6 percent, while Michigan's Rick Snyder and Wisconsin's Scott Walker are up by a more more modest 3 and 2 percent, respectively. By contrast, in rarely polled Connecticut, Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy finds himself in a hole, down 7 percent in a rematch of his 2010 contest.
But there's much more to this polling than the toplines. Indeed, there are a number of issues with YouGov's data and methodology that require serious scrutiny, so we've got lots more analysis after the jump.
Taken individually, few of these polls stick out as outliers. Kansas does stick, and arguably so does Florida, where YouGov gives Rick Scott his biggest lead yet in a nonpartisan poll. And the results in Michigan, North Carolina and Montana's Senate races buck recent trends that had shown improvements for Democrats. In general, though, YouGov's distance from the polling averages is generally plausible.
But when these polls are taken together, it's striking that in almost every case the results are rosier for the GOP than what other polls are suggesting. In seven of the 9 tightest Senate races, Republican candidates are ahead by more than the Huffington Post's Pollster average-in many cases (such as in Michigan and North Carolina) significantly.
Add to that a collection of implausibly tight results in states where Democratic incumbents have otherwise been cruising: Mark Warner's 10 percent lead in Virginia, Dick Durbin's 8 percent lead in Illinois, and Cory Booker's 7 percent lead in New Jersey are all about half of their current average margins.
There's precedent for this: In 2012, the margin of YouGov's final polls favored Republicans by an average 5 points, including large errors in competitive races in Nevada, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Virginia-all in the GOP's favor.
At the very least, that means that these polls are at the Republican-friendly end of the spectrum of plausibility. But it also does raise some methodological questions, some of which the Times's Nate Cohn addresses.
At the top of the list is the sample's composition. Cohn observes that only 81 percent of Americans use the Internet and that those who don't "tend to be less educated, less affluent and more likely to be Hispanic or over age 65." And there's no doubt that YouGov had trouble reaching nonwhite respondents: Only 6 percent of its Michigan respondents are black (as opposed to 16 percent of the 2012 electorate).
Now, that's only the unweighted share of African-American respondents. YouGov attempted to correct this by weighting, giving smaller samples of under-represented populations larger weight in the final results. Problems, however, remain.
For one, YouGov must guess the electorate's composition, which means that it may underestimate minority voters. (And YouGov made it hard to assess their decisions, since the crosstabs don't specify the samples' weighted composition.) For another, upweighting a group to more than double its original size can wreak havoc on the final results. Small sub-samples can generate bizarre results, which get magnified during the weighting process.
That affected YouGov's measurement of the non-white vote in 2012, and it may have done so again this time. Michigan's two statewide Democratic candidates get just 69 and 57 percent of African-American respondents' vote, for instance. And Dana Houle notes that most of the races in which Democrats saw favorable results in this batch of polling (Alaska, Minnesota, and New Hampshire) are in overwhelmingly white states, i.e., those states in which Democrats are less reliant on harder-to-measure non-white voters.
But what really makes these YouGov polls seem particularly sloppy is that they did not include any notable third-party candidates.
Sure, third-party candidates often poll higher than they end up getting. But how in the world could they not include Eliot Cutler in Maine's Governor race, an independent who took 36 percent in the 2010 election (17 percent more than the Democratic candidate), and when his presence on the ballot this year is the only reason the election is competitive in the first place? Democrat Mike Michaud leads the two-way match-up against Republican Governor LePage by 13 percent, but this poll is utterly meaningless without Cutler.
And how can they not include the Libertarians running in Georgia when a huge question in these races is whether the general election will go to a runoff? How can they not include former Sen. Larry Pressler, whose candidacy is a key factor that could make South Dakota's Senate contest much tighter than expected? These are glaring omissions.
Questions still remain as to how reliable Internet polling can be, and how attentive these national panels tend to be to state-specific details that matter in close elections. And these specific polls, as we've elaborated above, have issues of their own. But they also do give us an indication of what a realistically bad Election Day would look like for Democrats-and it wouldn't be pretty.
A new online poll conducted by the nonpartisan research firm YouGov in partnership with the New York Times and CBS News shows Foley leading Democratic incumbent Dannel P. Malloy 42 percent to 33 percent.
Another 8 percent of respondents were leaning toward Malloy, compared to 6 percent for Foley in a hypothetical rematch of their razor thin 2010 contest.
Looking at the crosstabs of the latest poll, Malloy leads Foley 42 percent to 29 percent among women voters, with another 11 percent leaning toward the governor to just 6 percent lean for Foley.
Among men, Foley leads Malloy 51 to 26 percent, with 6 percent leaning towards each of the candidates.
One of the big takeaways from the poll is Foley's lead among independents, 50 percent to 15 percent over Malloy, with 10 percent leaning toward the Republican and 7 percent leaning toward the Democratic incumbent.
The Connecticut GOP's "urban outreach" program has been sent into a tailspin this week with the firing of Connecticut Black Republican and Conservatives (CTBRAC) Chairwoman Regina Roundtree from state representative Penny Bacchiocchi's campaign for lieutenant governor. Roundtree committed the unforgivable sin of talking about "white privilege" on her Facebook page, which evidently is not what the tea party voters in a GOP primary want to hear about. (Coincidentally New Britain's GOP Mayor Erin Stewart has also gotten into hot water recently with her Facebook postings -- what is it with the GOP and Facebook?) Almost immediately after Roundtree's comments were called "character assassination" by one of Bachiochi's opponents, Bacchiochi revved up the bus and gave Roundtree a shove. Bacchiochi, who has been embroiled in an ongoing controversy over her unfounded accusations that one of her opponents was engaging in a 'whispering campaign' about her inter-racial family, called Roundtree's comments "unacceptable" and dismissed her from the campaign. The knee-jerk move by the Bacchiochi campaign to throw Roundtree under the bus seems to reflect an anxiety that, despite winning official party endorsement at the GOP convention in May, Bacchiochi's campaign is floundering just as opponent David Walker seems to be gaining momentum, racking up endorsements from GOP heavy-hitters across the spectrum, and another opponent, Heather Bond Somers, is ramping up negative attacks on Bacchiochi.
As a woman married to a black man (not to mention a supporter of medical marijuana and drug reform), Bacchiochi had been seen as one of the candidates representing a new and more diverse face of the Republican Party, and this was supposed to be the year when the CT GOP got serious about reaching out to minority voters, who were largely responsible for the GOP losing every statewide race in 2010, and getting beaten by 10-1 margins in urban areas. Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and other party leaders attended the launch of CTBRAC earlier this year and Roundtree was made chair of the urban affairs coalition of the state GOP. Gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley has included an extensive "urban agenda" in his campaign platform, and paid Roundtree's consulting firm more than $7000 to set up meetings for him in the black community.
Was there ever any serious "vetting" of Roundtree to see if she is on board with the GOP's self-serving fantasy of a post-racial society? Of course not, because as it has now become clear the whole outreach strategy was merely cosmetic gimmickry from the start.
Now the mask has slipped and the GOP's image reboot is falling apart. Booted from the Bacchiochi campaign, Roundtree is also at risk of losing her roles in the state party and the Foley campaign (though Foley says he is keeping her on -- for now), all because she discussed the possibility of racism within the GOP.
As the New Haven Register wrote in a scathing editorial, the whole episode has shown that "Connecticut Republicans remain clueless about conversations of race." What might have been a teaching moment on race became instead a teaching moment on the obliviousness of Somers and the spinelessness of Bacchiochi.
Foley will surely continue his charade of urban outreach -- his support among minorities has such a low baseline that he has nothing to lose. But will the GOP ever be able to attract minority voters if it cynically recruits incompetent or wildly off-message black conservatives, and gets upset when they so much as dare to mention racism?