New poll shows Foley leading Democratic rivals

A new poll shows Republican businessman Tom Foley taking single-digit leads over the top two Democratic candidates for governor, Ned Lamont and Dannel P. Malloy.

The Rasmussen Reports’ telephone survey of 500 likely voters has Foley leading Lamont, 44 percent to 37 percent, and besting Malloy, 44 percent to 35 percent. In February, Foley trailed Lamont, 40 percent to 37 percent, and was virtually tied with Malloy.

The poll was conducted April 1 and released Wednesday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Foley, a former ambassador and Republican fundraiser, is the only one of the three doing any television advertising, but Lamont is expected to begin his advertising campaign this month.

Lt. Gov. Michael C. Fedele, who also is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination and recently aired a television commercial, trails both Democrats by nearly identical margins: 41 percent to 38 percent behind Lamont, and 40 percent to 37 percent behind Malloy.

Lamont, who became a national political figure in 2006 with his antiwar challenge of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, generated the strongest opinions, both positive and negative. Eighteen percent of respondents had a “very favorable” opinion of Lamont, while 22 percent had a “very unfavorable” view.

The very favorable/very unfavorable splits for the others: Malloy, 12 percent/11 percent; Foley, 10 percent/6 percent; Fedele, 3 percent/5 percent.

Rasmussen did not poll on intra-party matchups, so the figures released Wednesday shed no light on a race that looms larger for all the candidates than the November general election: The contests for the Democratic and Republican nominations at party conventions in May, followed by likely primaries in August.

gov favorability 4-8-10