As Voter Approval Sinks, Advisor Says Connecticut Governor Is 'Choosing to Lead'

In response to the results of two recent polls of Connecticut voters which found that there is considerable dissatisfaction with Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, the governor’s special advisor said that Mr. Malloy has “made the tough decisions necessary to clean up the financial mess he inherited when he took office in January.” Roy Occhiogrosso added, “You can choose to be popular, or you can choose to lead. Governor Malloy has chosen to lead … he’s not trying to win a popularity contest.”

Yet, a Quinnipiac University poll showed just the opposite: that while Connecticut voters give Governor Malloy a 38% job approval rating, with 43% polled particularly “dissatisfied,” and 16% “angry” with his state budget, 48% of voters “like” him “as a person.” It would seem that, indeed, Mr. Malloy is winning more of the popularity, or “likability” contest. What most Connecticut voters do not appear to like is his leadership, which embraced the largest tax increase in the history of the state, one that included a retroactive income tax hike, and an aggressive legislative session that contained a state version of the “Dream Act,” which allows in-state tuition rates for children of illegal aliens, a “transgender rights bill,” an “Early Release” for prisoners bill, and an “Amazon” tax bill.

Douglas Schwartz, the poll’s director, commented, “”Gov. Dannel Malloy should be doing better in a blue state like Connecticut, but he gets only a 52 percent approval rating among his base of Democrats.” Ironically, his high tax package was viewed as fair by more Republicans (27%) than Democrats (10%) or independents (19%).

In addition, the governor passed his budget without the $1.6 billion in public sector union “concessions” that he used to balance it. The “concessions,” which appear to rely heavily upon attrition, that were agreed upon between the governor and the union leaders who helped to elect him include:

  • no layoffs for the next four years
  • a wage freeze for the first two years of a four-year contract, including a ban on such pay hikes as step increments and lump sum payments.
  • the retirement age for state workers who retire after 2017 is to be raised by three years
  • health care changes such as required annual visits to primary physicians and mail-order prescription drug plans

Not surprisingly, regarding healthcare benefits, the union states, to its members, that while they support the anticipated Connecticut universal healthcare plan, called Sustinet, for everyone else in the state, “we have insisted, and will always insist, that health reform not have any negative impact on the benefits or plan of our members.”

Another poll, conducted by the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, found Governor Malloy’s approval rating at 42% and a majority of voters not inclined to re-elect him. Regarding the union “concessions,” 49% of those polled stated employee unions “did not give up enough and should have been asked for more.”

Finally, 65% of voters in the Yankee Institute poll said they would not recommend moving to, or starting a business in, the state of Connecticut, to a friend. Can you blame them?

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