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CT-Sen: Dodd's Struggles Continue

Polling shows Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) could be in for a tougher than expected reelection race. (Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg News)

UPDATE, 2:52 p.m.: A wise Democratic strategist points out a pro-Dodd element of the Q poll we missed on our first read through. Last month in the Quinnipiac survey just 41 percent approved of the way Dodd was doing his job while 48 percent disapproved. Compare that to the new data where 49 percent approved and 44 percent disapproved and you see a glimmer of hope for Dodd in the numbers.

Original Post

Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd continues to struggle in the eyes of Connecticut voters with a new poll showing the five-term incumbent in a statistical dead heat with his likely Republican challenger.

The survey, conducted by Quinnipiac University, shows former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) taking 43 percent of the vote to Dodd's 42 percent in a hypothetical 2010 matchup -- a danger zone for any incumbent, particularly a Democrat in a state as blue as Connecticut.

Inside the numbers, the prognosis isn't much better. Simmons is winning the support of 15 percent of self-identified Democrats in the poll and independents are siding with the former Republican House member by a whopping 49 percent to 32 percent.

Dodd's personal favorability ratings are also languishing with 46 percent expressing a favorable opinion about him and 45 percent feeling unfavorably. Compare those middling numbers to Dodd's showing in Q polls from May 2007 (45 percent fav/31 percent unfav) and February 2007 (49 percent fav/30 percent unfav) and you see just how badly he has been hurt by his ties to the troubled mortgage lender Countrywide and his quixotic presidential bid.

Dodd spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said that his boss was not focused on 2010 yet, adding: "When the time comes, Senator Dodd will be ready with a strong and vigorous re-election campaign."

What's abundantly clear from the data is that the 2010 election is shaping up as a referendum on Dodd and his service to the state. While Simmons, who represented Connecticut's eastern 2nd district from 2000 until his defeat in 2006, is tied with Dodd, a majority of voters (53 percent) don't know enough about the Republican to rate whether they view him favorably or unfavorably.

Put simply: Voters are looking for a credible alternative to Dodd. If they find one, they seem ready and willing to jump ship on the Democratic incumbent.

That fact puts a premium on Republicans finding a credible alternative. Knowledgeable national Republicans are increasingly optimistic that Simmons will enter the race (and polls like this one certainly make the contest more attractive for the former House member) and expect a decision sometime in the next few weeks.

If Simmons doesn't run, look for Republican recruiters to turn their attention to Tom Foley, a major fundraiser for former president George W. Bush and a former Ambassador to Ireland. Foley is interested in running and would bring personal money to the contest but, sharp operatives agree, does not have the cache as a candidate that Simmons provides.

Some Democrats continue to roll their eyes at the idea that Dodd, a titan of Democratic politics in the state, is truly vulnerable. After all, his seniority has placed him as the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee at a time when the entire world of banks is being restructured AND Connecticut is a solidly blue state -- having given President Obama more than 60 percent of the vote last November.

All true. But, Democrats ignore this race at their own peril. National Republicans have already honed in on it as a pickup opportunity and the national media (the Fix included) has started to pay attention.

No matter how Democratic Connecticut is, this race will be a referendum on Dodd. He and his team recognize there is a problem and have the better part of the next year to fix it as well as a high profile perch on the Banking committee from which to prove his effectiveness.

But, Dodd is in for a fight.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 10, 2009; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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I assume that "Andy" knows what he is talking about. At the same time, a five time incumbent should not have to worry about re-election. Since he does, he had better get his act together, remember where he came from or contemplate retirement. the Democrats can hardly afford to lose any so-called sure seats next year. The push is on for the magic 60 which will allow them to pass health care for one and perhaps tax reform for another.

Posted by: Opa2 | March 12, 2009 1:44 AM | Report abuse

I assume that "Andy" knows what he is talking about. At the same time, a five time incumbent should not have to worry about re-election. Since he does, he had better get his act together, remember where he came from or contemplate retirement. the Democrats can hardly afford to lose any so-called sure seats next year. The push is on for the magic 60 which will allow them to pass health care for one and perhaps tax reform for another.

Posted by: Opa2 | March 12, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

zouk - i really feel sorry for you. You are such an angry person.

Posted by: niquin21 | March 11, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Dodd needs a makeover...his hair is a mess.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 11, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse







Do something -- tell your story to the American Civil Liberties Union (link below).

Then demand that ACLU renew its free speech fight by filing a class-action suit against unconstitutional, rogue government surveillance operations.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 10, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

What is Chris Shays doing now?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 10, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Would like to see our spineless MSM report on Dodd's million-dollar "cottage" on the Irish coast, which was given to him by one of his mortgage-lending cronies....

Posted by: pgr88 | March 10, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Good! He's a free traitor, an advocate of the H1-B visa, and a fanatical globalizer, responsible for the outsourcing of millions of American jobs -- all so he could fatten his campaign coffer. Dodd, like Schumer, is no friend of working people and *deserves* to loose.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 10, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I have been told there are two things for certain in life: death and taxes. However, the more I read the Fix the more I realize there is a third certainity in life and that is both Drindl and KOZ will be off topic.

Posted by: sltiowa | March 10, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

RambleOn writes
"Also if history is any indication, Republicans will gain seats in the first mid-term election after a new president of a different party is elected."

Thus far, that seems to be the Repub strategy: "Hey, history says we'll win more seats in the mid-terms, so we don't have to do jack in the meantime. woohoo!"

I suspect this strategy will prove to be poorly chosen.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 10, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Republicans like Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have been attacking the $410 billion omnibus spending bill, claiming that it has too much spending and too many earmarks. One of the loudest voices calling for the bill’s defeat has been Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), despite his earmarks worth $249 million for 142 projects.


Posted by: drindl | March 10, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the voters are finally waking up and realizing what a corrupt piece of dung Dodd is. He, Barney Frank and Tax avoider Rangel are the most corrupt democrat slugs in Congress.

Posted by: LarryG62 | March 10, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

The best cure for the economy is to remove "sweetheart mortgage deal" dodd and buffoon barney frank from office.

These are the main culprits that caused the housing collapse by forcing Freddie and Fannie to lower their standards to boost loans to unqualified borrowers that are the d-crats' constituency. They have shown a total lack of ability and competence to do anything good for the overall economy.

Posted by: LoonyLeft | March 10, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse


'This past Sunday on Meet the Press, former House Majority Leader Newt Gingrich took a shot at Rush Limbaugh, saying that anyone who doesn’t want President Obama to succeed is “irrational.” Today, Limbaugh responded on his radio show.

“You know, I’m frankly getting tired of talking about Newt,” Limbaugh began. “I mean, it’s a pointless exercise.” He then ripped Gingrich for being a typical “fly-by-night,” finger-in-the-wind politician who can’t be trusted:

They are fly-by-night operators, and most of them stand for nothing until they see a poll about what the American people want, and then they go out and try to say one way or another what the American people want while trying to falsely hold onto an ideology at the same time — and you can’t count on them. You can’t depend on them. They will sell you out; they will throw you overboard to save themselves, faster than anything. And they’ll use you on their way up as often as they can at the same time."

Posted by: drindl | March 10, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

drivl got out of its cage again.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 10, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Republican infighting escalated Monday” at the RNC, after chairman Michael Steele issued $1 million checks to the campaign committees — checks some tell The Hill were slashed from the $3 million promised by former chairman Mike Duncan. “That is a ‘lie,’ says the RNC — and so another round of recrimination begins.”


Posted by: drindl | March 10, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

and here's the result of more republican policies... the chickens coming home to roost-- or rather, the toxic coal ash is coming to DC.

According to the Maryland Department of the Environment, approximately 4,000 gallons of toxic coal ash has spilled into the North Branch of the Potomac River in Luke, MD. A “dime sized” hole developed in the pipeline on March 8, but was not discovered until the next morning. Pete Altman at the NRDC writes:

I don’t know how long it’ll take for the spill to reach DC proper, but its a hell of a way to send a message about how much we need to regulate the handling of this stuff. All the more reason to thank the Obama Administration for announcing plans to propose federal regulations for coal waste."

Posted by: drindl | March 10, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

hilarious -- a republican Senator lambastes Fox News for 'deceiving their listeners.' pass that popcorn again, it just keeps gettin better as the far right self-destructs.

So-called “Mormon crickets” are actually an invasive cicada species that decimates crops across the West regularly. In 2000, the infestations cost Utah alone $22 million in crop damages. The cricket infestation in 2003 caused at least $25 million in damages. “We are going to eradicate the crickets [with the funds]. And they infest at highest point 3.5 million acres — most of which is public lands. … The crops…are being destroyed on public lands,” Bennett explained.

Bennett noted that eliminating earmarks doesn’t save federal dollars, and he scolded Fox News’s reporting. “If the money were not earmarked for this purpose, it would still be spent. That is, the Dept. of Agriculture would spend it someplace else,” he said. “So do not deceive your listeners and your viewers.”

Posted by: drindl | March 10, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Drivl is clueless and fact free as usual. If market performance is an indication of obamas success, he is surely the worst president ever. Dow down 20-30 percent since he arrived and started mucking things up.

I know, I know- bush did it.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 10, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

in today's One Clown Bashes the Other segment:

"Recently, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has tweeted a series of top 10 lists of “porkiest projects” in the omnibus spending bill, criticizing “beaver management” and even funding for school construction. Last month, one of his tweets was an earmark in the omnibus spending bill for “mormon crickets”

@SenJohnMcCain: #6 $1 million for mormon cricket control in Utah - is that the species of cricket or a game played by the brits?

The line has since been embraced by the right wing as an example of wasteful spending. Today, the earmark’s sponsor, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) explained his rationale in a tense interview with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly, who accused Bennett of abusing federal funds for pet projects. “Why is it an earmark to begin with?” she pressed. Bennett fired back at Kelly: “Okay, will you calm down for a minute?” The Utah senator then took a shot at McCain:

KELLY: The only debate I’ve heard is John McCain telling you that this is the sixth porkiest earmark he sees in the bill.

BENNETT: Well, that may be because the Mormon crickets only infest Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Maybe we ought to shoot some of them over the border into Arizona. But they go wherever they go. And again, the authorizing committee that examines these things is fully aware of it."

Posted by: drindl | March 10, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Also if history is any indication, Republicans will gain seats in the first mid-term election after a new president of a different party is elected. Given Dodd's ties to Countrywide, his support of Fannie & Freddie and "fighting" for home ownership by every American (and apparently many couldn't afford it), his number may be up.

For the record, I've met the Senator, and he's an incredibly nice fellow.

Posted by: RambleOn | March 10, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

How can you suggest that Connecticut is really that "blue"? I recall that the Democrat who ran for Senate in CT the last time actually lost. The fact is that while CT is a "liberal" leaning state, its residents are thoughtful, intelligent and overwhelmingly independent in a non-partisan kind of way.

Posted by: RambleOn | March 10, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

2010 will be the political backlash that puts the GOP back in control of Congress. The Dems have but all killed our economy with their cap&trade farce, higher taxes and card check to wipe out small business. Obama is so far out of the mainstream, he is scaring the hell out of middle america. How did this Marxist get elected? By the support of this paper and other MSM outlets. Where have all the true journalists gone?

Posted by: vbhoomes | March 10, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

'cachet' not 'cache'

Posted by: HardyW | March 10, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"That fact puts a premium on Republicans finding a credible alternative."

Maybe they'll all vote for Lieberman again.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 10, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

about time

'Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations right now, said that broad overhaul of the financial regulatory system is necessary to prevent another crisis from happening.'

Posted by: drindl | March 10, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Nate Silver had an interesting analysis of this race

Posted by: umprof | March 10, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Simmons for Senate!!!!! :)

Posted by: dee150586 | March 10, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, the markets are up, and it's all due to their confidence in Obama's leadership, which is as it should be.

Posted by: drindl | March 10, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

the market is up!!!

Did Obama resign?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 10, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but I read this whole article and I didn't see even ONE line about WHY Democrats might not like Dodd. Not being from his state, he too conservative, too liberal, some kinds of rumors about him? Nice explanation of his prospects without any explanation of how the situation arose.

Posted by: BigTimePatriot | March 10, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

TO: SEN. DODD STAFF (please forward)






* Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

* Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" using the IRS for "social cleansing."

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I guess if you lead the nation down the road to ruin, while lining your own pockets, eventually even dems protest.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 10, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Chris Dodd may be ignoring this race but his wife is most definitly not. She is the political brains behind that team and she will get the money folks in Connecticut to pony up for Chris and by this time next year Dodd will be out on the airwaves and by 2010 will be back as the senator for Conn.

Posted by: AndyR3 | March 10, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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