Quinnipiac University, Public Policy Polling and Rasmussen Reports all were winners in Connecticut’s race for governor with final polls that were spot on or within the margin of error compared to the actual results: a three-point win by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Not that Malloy didn’t get one last polling scare. More on that later.
Quinnipiac and Public Policy each had Malloy up by three points over Republican Tom Foley in the final days. After having Foley up by seven in mid-October, Rasmussen’s final word Sunday was Malloy by one point.
Unofficial results posted Wednesday had Malloy beating Foley by three points, 51 percent to 48 percent, with one percent to a petitioning candidate, Joe Visconti, who endorsed Foley on Sunday.
|Quinnipiac||10-Sep-14||40||46||7||Foley + 6|
Visconti, who had polled as high as nine points, was the wild card.
Quinnipiac’s last poll released Monday was based on pushing respondents to express a preference in a three-way race and a two-way race. It was in the field when Visconti announced Sunday he was suspending his campaign to endorse Foley.
Based in Hamden, Quinnipiac’s polls are the ones that generally get the most attention in Connecticut, since it polls regularly here and gives a sense of movement over time. It also conducts national polls and surveys in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa and Colorado.
This year, its polls had the race a dead heat until September, when Foley posted a six-point lead. In three polls in October, Quinnipiac had the race as a tie or gave Malloy a one-point lead.
In 2010, Quinnipiac’s last three polls had Foley closing, mirroring what Democrats saw in Malloy’s internal polls. Quinnipiac had Malloy up by seven on Oct. 15, by five on Oct. 26 and trailing in its last poll by three, just within the margin of error.
Malloy won a three-way race that year by half a percentage point.
This year, Foley insisted as late as Monday night that the race was trending his way based on reports from his pollster, The Tarrance Group of Alexandria, Va. Calling Tarrance “the best in the business,” Foley said his pollster had him up by 3½ points late last week.
A good poll, but a bad Tweet on Monday
Before the election Malloy did not reveal the internals produced by his pollster, Global Strategy Group, but Roy Occhiogrosso, a close adviser to Malloy and a Global partner, said Thursday that Malloy’s last internals were nine days old. They had him up by two.
So, Malloy’s camp naturally was eager to see the last Quinnipiac poll on Monday. Normally, Quinnipiac polls are released at 6 a.m.
Occhiogrosso arrived at the Executive Residence in Hartford a little after 7 a.m. to accompany Malloy on a last full day of campaigning, but Quinnipiac still had posted no poll.
“What’s up with Quinnipiac?” Malloy demanded.
Occhiogrosso said he speculated that Visconti’s withdrawal was a complication, that maybe Quinnipiac would decline to release its final findings, seeing them as compromised.
Malloy, Occhiogrosso and another longtime aide, Arielle Reich, then left for a campaign appearance with Foley at a radio station, WPLR. At a stop for coffee, Occhiogrosso got a message from Brian Durand, the governor’s deputy chief of staff. Bad news.
Durand had forwarded a Tweet from a reporter: Foley up by three. Occhiogrosso relayed it to Malloy, telling him not to worry, that Foley was up by three in the last 2010 poll. But Malloy noticeably tensed.
A second, profanity-laced message quickly followed from Durand. The first Tweet was wrong, it was Malloy up by three.
Occhiogrosso gave Malloy the accurate result.
The governor accused Occhiogrosso of messing around and ordered him from the car in a bit of blue language. Reich, Occhiogrosso and the governor then burst out laughing.
Malloy, on the way to a three-point win, was in a good mood for the rest of the day.