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Dodd Polls 16 Points Behind Possible Republican Challenger For 2010

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

In a direct match up with possible Republican 2010 candidate former Congressman Rob Simmons, Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd has the support of only 34 percent of his constituents, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows. Simmons receives 50 percent of the vote, according to the poll.

Dodd, who has been in the Senate for 30 years, chairs the Senate Banking Committee. Many of those polled cite his involvement in the AIG bonus fiasco for their unhappiness with the incumbent, whose has just a 33 percent favorability rating. That's the lowest point his approval rating has ever gone; in March, it stood at 49 percent.

Dodd took much of the blame last month when his committee loosened restrictions on executive bonuses for bailed out companies in the stimulus bill. After initially denying having a hand in the legislation, which allowed AIG to reward current and former employees with $165 million dollars in retention bonuses, Dodd admitted that he diluted the restrictions at the request of the Treasury Department.

After a war of words, Treasury Secretary Geithner said that the Senate Banking Committee was urged to amend the restrictions by Treasury. But the acknowledgement may have come too late for Dodd, whose political stock fell as a result of stories noting his involvement in diluting the restrictions.

Twenty-seven percent of Connecticut voters polled say they blame Dodd for the AIG bonuses, while only twenty percent blame Geithner.

"A 33 percent job approval is unheard of for a 30-year incumbent, especially a Democrat in a blue state. Sen. Christopher Dodd's numbers among Democrats are especially devastating. Since the AIG controversy, his approval rating among Democrats is down to 51 percent, and only 58 percent of Democrats say they will vote for him against Simmons, who at this point is the best known and strongest Republican challenger," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.

"The generic numbers are even worse for Dodd than the specific matchup numbers, with only a third saying they probably or definitely will vote for Dodd compared to 59 percent saying they definitely or probably won't vote for him," Schwartz added.

The poll also shows Dodd trailing two other possible Republican challengers, State Sen. Sam Caligiuri (41 to 37 percent) and former ambassador Tom Foley (43 to 35 percent).

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