Connecticut’s race for governor is going to the wire with Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican Tom Foley tied at 43 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Petitioning candidate Joe Visconti was at seven percent.

With six days until voters go to the polls for the second time in four years to choose between Malloy and Foley, only six percent were undecided. Their 2010 race was decided by half a percentage point.

The overall numbers barely changed in a week, despite a relentless advertising campaign by both major-party candidates and the super PACs supporting them in a race that’s been long considered a tossup.

The 6 a.m. release of the Quinnipiac poll must give Malloy a sense of “Groundhog Day,” the movie where Bill Murray’s character relives the same day, awakening over and over to the same song. For Malloy, it’s the number that’s the same: 43 percent.

In six polls since May, four of them by Quinnipiac, Malloy’s support was at 43 percent, with Foley’s number varying only slightly.

A week ago, Quinnipiac had Malloy over Foley by a point, 43 percent to 42 percent, with Visconti at nine percent.

“Independent candidate Joe Visconti’s numbers have edged slightly downward,” Douglas Schwartz, the poll’s director. “Not a surprise given that many of his supporters told us they could change their mind. Perhaps we are beginning to see some of those more conservative-minded Visconti voters shift to Foley as the election draws near.”

A CBS-New York Times web-based poll Monday had Malloy and Foley tied at 40 percent, with Visconti  at three percent.

The new Quinnipiac poll of likely voters found 86 percent who expressed a preference insisted their minds were made up, with 89 percent of Malloy voters and 90 percent of Foley voters firm. Fifty-six percent of Visconti voters say they could shift.

With Visconti out of the race, Foley would lead by a point, 46 percent to 45 percent, Quinnipiac found.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, hinted Monday night in a Connecticut campaign stop that the RGA’s polling showed Foley opening a lead. But the group added $600,000 to its spending and amped up its TV attacks on Malloy, indications it, too, sees the race as unsettled.

The biggest changes in the new poll were in Foley’s favor. His favorables rose, as did his lead among unaffiliated voters.

Foley’s lead Wednesday was 15 points among the unaffiliated, 48 percent to 33 percent. A week ago, it was just two points. Visconti was supported by 14 percent of unaffiliated, down from 16 percent.

The GOP challenger had a split favorability rating, 43 percent to 43 percent, and Malloy’s was a negative 41 percent to 52 percent. A week ago, Foley had a negative 40 percent to 46 percent.

“Foley’s favorability rating has improved. Voters now have a mixed opinion of him after viewing him negatively. Voters’ views of Malloy are stable and negative,” Schwartz said.

The governor’s challenge is stark: He is the first Democratic governor in this blue state in 20 years, but half the state’s voters have an unfavorable opinion of him after nearly four years in office.

Malloy addressed his negative rating with two commercials this week. In one, he wryly says, “I have a confession to make. I’m not always that fun-loving guy you might think.” The other is a testimonial by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

Both talk about the challenges over the past four years from the economy, storms and a horrific school massacre. And both seemed aimed at building his huge lead among women, who tend to turn out to vote in slightly higher percentages than men.

Malloy led Foley by 17 points among women, 52 percent to 35 percent. Foley led Malloy by 15 points among men, 51 percent to 34 percent.

The governor and challenger maintained support among their bases. Malloy led Foley among Democrats, 82 percent to nine percent. Foley led Malloy among Republicans, 87 percent to seven percent. Visconti was supported by four percent of Republicans and three percent of Democrats.

The new poll was based on a random telephone survey of 838 likely voters from October 22 to 27. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

The sample was 36 percent Democratic, 33 percent unaffiliated, 25 percent Republican and five percent “other” or “don’t know,” based on answers to this question: “Generally speaking, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, an independent, or what?”

Comparing the Polls
Democrat Dannel P. Malloy vs. Republican Tom Foley vs. Joe Visconti
Poll Date Malloy Foley Visconti Difference
Quinnipiac 29-Oct-14 43 43 7 tie
YouGov 27-Oct-14 40 40 3 tie
Quinnipiac 22-Oct-14 43 42 9 Malloy +1
Rasmussen 19-Oct-14 43 50 na Foley +7
Quinnipiac 8-Oct-14 43 43 9 tie
PPP 6-Oct-14 43 35 9 Malloy +8
YouGov 11-Sep-14 37 37 n/a tie
Quinnipiac 10-Sep-14 40 46 7 Foley + 6
Rasmussen 21-Aug-14 38 45 n/a Foley +7
Vox 31-Jul-14 35 34 n/a Malloy +1
YouGov 28-Jul-14 33 42 n/a Foley +9
Quinnipiac 9-May-14 43 43 n/a tie
Quinnipiac 4-Mar-14 42 42 n/a tie

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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