State’s 2 senators get lowest approval ratings ever in survey
HAMDEN, Conn. — A slim majority of Connecticut voters support a recent state Supreme Court ruling to allow same-sex couples to marry, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, Dec. 17.
The poll also gave U.S. Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Christopher Dodd their lowest approval ratings in the survey’s history.
Fifty-two percent said they support the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, while 39 percent oppose it. Nine percent are undecided.
But voters strongly oppose amending Connecticut’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage, 61 percent to 33 percent. That had been one of the last hopes for opponents of gay marriage.
"Connecticut voters are not in love with same-sex marriage," said poll director Douglas Schwartz. "But four out of five voters support some legal recognition for same-sex unions and by almost two-to-one, voters do not want to change the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage."
Given three choices, 43 percent of voters agree same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, while 39 percent support civil unions and 12 percent oppose any legal recognition.
Anne Stanback, president of the gay rights group Love Makes a Family, said she disagrees with Schwartz’s comments that voters aren’t "in love" with same-sex marriage because he believes "a bare majority" back the court decision.
"Barack Obama won the presidential election with the same 52 percent margin and his election results have been interpreted as a clear mandate for change," she said. "We view the poll results similarly — Connecticut voters, by a clear majority, support marriage equality for same-sex couples."
Asked about the senators, 38 percent of voters said they like the job Lieberman is doing, while 54 percent do not. In a July 1 Quinnipiac poll, 45 percent approved of how he was handling his job as a senator.
Schwartz said Lieberman "appears to be paying a high price" for his public support of Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Lieberman, a longtime Democrat, was re-elected to the Senate in 2006 as an independent but continues to caucus with Democrats.
"This is the highest disapproval rating in any Quinnipiac University poll in any state for a sitting U.S. senator — except for New Jersey’s Robert Torricelli, just before he resigned in 2002," Schwartz said.
For Dodd, 47 percent support the job he’s doing, compared with 41 percent who do not. Back in July, 51 percent backed Dodd.
"Sen. Dodd’s low approval rating is bad news for any incumbent, but at this point there is no strong Republican challenger on the horizon as Dodd faces re-election in 2010," Schwartz said.
He said Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, is in a strong position for re-election if she decides to run in 2010. She has created an exploratory committee.
Sixty-eight percent of voters support the job she is doing as governor while 20 percent do not. That’s a slight improvement from the July 1 poll, when 65 percent of voters approved of Rell’s job performance.
The poll of 1,445 registered voters was conducted between Dec. 11-15. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.