Buoyed by his crisis leadership, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy won a 48 percent to 39 percent job approval rating in a Quinnipiac University poll released today, his highest mark since becoming governor in January 2011.

Malloy, 57, the first Democratic governor in 20 years, still faces considerable political challenges as he looks to re-election in 2014, and today’s poll offers more encouragement than discouragement to Republican challengers.


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

More than 75 percent of voters approve of Malloy’s response to the Newtown shooting, the February blizzard and Hurricane Sandy, but they disapprove of how he has handled pocketbook issues that can influence elections.

“Connecticut voters say Gov. Dannel Malloy is a good man to have in a crisis and give him very high grades for his response to recent crises in the state,” said Douglas Schwartz, director of the poll.  “On the day-to-day issues of governing, such as budget, taxes and the economy, he gets failing grades.”

In a Quinnipiac poll last week that focusing on gun control, voters were evenly divided on Malloy’ job performance: 43 percent to 43 percent.

“My take on it is that Gov. Malloy is doing better in our poll compared to last week because he is on the right side of public opinion in this gun control debate,” Schwartz said. “Voters agree with Gov. Malloy that there should be stricter gun laws here in Connecticut.”

Voters are divided in the new poll on whether Malloy deserves a second term: 42 say yes, 45 percent say no. Only four percent of voters say they are “very satisfied” and 36 percent “satisfied” with the way things are going in Connecticut, numbers little changed over the past year.

There is some good political news in the survey: He has a 72 percent to 15 percent approval among Democrats, a number unlikely to give anyone thoughts of a primary challenge; and he is the beneficiary of a gender gap, as women favor him, 51 percent to 33 percent. Women tend to turn out at the polls in greater numbers than men.

Voters approve of how Malloy, who angered the Democratic constituency of unionized teachers with his rhetoric as he pushed an education reform bill last year, is handling education and gun control. As was the case with a Quinnipiac poll released last week on guns, voters support strong gun control.

His proposal to eliminate the car tax is a wash.

Sixty-seven percent call Malloy “a strong leader in a crisis” and, by a margin of 53 percent to 36 percent, they say he has a “likable personality.”

Democrats, who control the General Assembly by a 2-1 margin, get a split grade: 44 percent of voters approved and 46 percent disapproved. Republicans were regarded worse, with only 32 percent approving and 55 percent disapproving.

President Obama got a 53 percent to 44 percent approval rating, little unchanged from last June.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who won a Senate seat in 2010 as one of Connecticut’s best-known and most-like politicians, has a 63 percent to 27 percent approval, also little changed.

The state’s newest senator, Chris Murphy, who was elected last fall after six years as a congressman, is approved by 50 percent and disapproved by 34 percent, with 16 percent offering no opinion.

The poll is based on a telephone survey of 1,144 registered voters conducted March 7 to 10. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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