Malloy breaks 50 percent on approval rating in Yankee poll

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is above water in a new public poll that gives him a 51 percent to 46 percent approval rating, while Democrats seeking re-election or higher office this year do even better in Connecticut.

A poll commissioned by the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think tank, shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney in the state, 50 percent to 37 percent. Against New Gingrich, his lead jumps to 56 percent to 35 percent.

In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Chris Murphy has a 49 percent to 40 percent lead over Republican Linda McMahon. If Chris Shays is the GOP nominee, Murphy’s lead shrinks to 45 percent to 39 percent.

Democrat Susan Bysiewicz fares worse against the GOP field. She leads McMahon, 43 percent to 40 percent and trails Shays, 42 percent to 41 percent. They offered no matchup involving the other candidates.

Malloy has made a net gain of 19-percentage points over Yankee’s previous poll in June, when his approval rating was 42 percent to 56 percent. The gain came despite public disapproval (48 percent to 35 percent)  of his recent trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

In the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, conducted in September, Malloy still was 7 points under water at 41 percent to 48 percent.

Murphy, the congressman seeking the Democratic nomination for an open Senate seat, was the candidate with the highest net favorable rating (the difference between approval and disapproval.) It was +19 points.

He was followed by Obama (+9), Shays (+7), Bysiewicz (+1), Romney (-5), McMahon (-9) and Gingrich(-35).

With an approval rating of 62 percent to 31 percent, Sen. Richard Blumenthal had a net rating of +31.

Malloy’s call for Sunday liquor sales is a hit: it is approved by a 2-1 margin. But an executive order intended to ease unionization by certain day care workers and personal-care attendants was opposed 52 percent to 34 percent.

The poll found support for changes in teacher tenure and evaluations, with 61 percent saying they would abolish tenure and 53 percent favoring tying compensation to student outcomes and classroom evaluations. percent say teacher unions are more concerned about protecting jobs than education.

Immigration reform is relatively popular, with 56 percent of voters saying they support creating a path to legal status for illegal immigrants, while 37 percent say they should be required to leave the country

The telephone poll of 500 likely voters was conducted Feb. 1 and 2 by Pulse Opinion Research. It was a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.