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53-40: The Numbers That Trap Malloy.

Wednesday’s Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters in the race for governor confirmed what private surveys have been finding for weeks: Republican Tom Foley enjoys a steady lead over incumbent Democrat Dannel P. Malloy. The marquee number in the Quinnipiac survey is Foley’s six point lead, 46-40.

Malloy’s problem will be finding persuadable voters between now and the November 4th election. The 40% of likely voters who say they support him matches his 40% favorable rating. The first term governor may be at or close to his ceiling. He needs to chip away at the 53% who see him unfavorably, and that may be Malloy’s impossible mission. They’ve had regular exposure to Malloy in the last four years and have reached their conclusion. They don’t like him. It’s hard to envision events or a strategy that alters the opinion of many of those 53% who will be happy to see him lose in eight weeks.

Democratic loyalists and operatives have been growing uneasy as each private poll has confirmed Foley’s stubborn lead. Today’s public poll lets the public in on their unhappy secret. Watch for the tussle over Democratic resources, including discouraged troops, to grow more intense. Outbreaks are most likely to increase in the 5th Congressional District, where Malloy’s people have been in tense competition for party workers with worried incumbent U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty. Her campaign has been receiving dark portents of a difficult race, too. The uncharitable attribute her poor showing in polls to the burden of running with Malloy.