Dodd on the Rebound
After enduring months of bad press over his ties to embattled corporate giants Countrywide and AIG, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) appears to have turned a corner in his uphill battle for reelection in 2010.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Dodd trailing former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) 45 percent to 39 percent, a marked improvement from the 16 point deficit Dodd faced in an April Q poll.
Dodd's gains, expectedly, have come from Democrats -- less than six in ten of whom were backing him in the April survey. Now, 67 percent of Democrats are behind Dodd and, barring some other scandal, that number should continue to grow. (Dodd's greatest strength in this race is that he is running in an overwhelmingly Democratic state where, if he can come even close to consolidating his party's base behind him, he can win.)
Dodd continues to lag badly behind Simmons among independents, however, losing that critical voting bloc by 23 points -- a margin he must find a way to narrow if he is to win next November.
Other data in the poll affirms the mild progress Dodd has made. His personal favorability score is now at 37 percent up from 30 percent in April and his job approval number is 38 percent up from 33 percent in April.
Still, there are any number of warning signs in the numbers for Dodd. The most striking is that of the 53 percent of people who disapprove of the job he is doing as a senator, roughly half (24 percent) said their feelings toward Dodd are rooted in the belief that he lacks integrity or is dishonest. That is a very difficult perception for a politician to overcome.
Dodd remains the most vulnerable Democrat running for reelection in 2010. But, as evidenced by the positive press he received recently over the passage of a credit card reform bill (he is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee) and these latest poll numbers, he is starting to show some signs of life.
May 27, 2009; 11:42 AM ET
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