New CT-SEN Poll: Rob Simmons (R) 43, Chris Dodd (D) 42

At the end of my tenure on this committee, I want it to be said that the safety and soundness of our financial institutions was not weakened on my watch

Chris Dodd, February 15, 2007

(H/T Ironman, who notes that the Dow has fallen nearly in half since that date).

Senator Dodd has a lot to answer for and it looks like Connecticut voters are turning on him, as a new Quinnipiac poll out this morning shows he would narrowly trail moderate Republican former Congressman Rob Simmons 43-42 if the election were held today. (H/T) Simmons has been publicly mulling a run, as has longtime business pundit Larry Kudlow. The underlying numbers don’t look promising for an incumbent this far from the start of campaigning:

Sen. Dodd leads State Sen. Sam Caligiuri 47 – 34 percent and tops CNBC-TV host Larry Kudlow 46 – 34 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

In the Dodd-Simmons matchup, Democrats back Dodd 74 – 15 percent while Simmons leads 80 – 10 percent among Republicans and 49 – 32 percent among independent voters.

Connecticut voters approve 49 – 44 percent of the job Dodd is doing, compared to a negative 41 – 48 percent approval rating February 10. Dodd gets a split 46 – 45 percent favorability.

For Simmons, 53 percent do not know enough to form an opinion. Caligiuri and Kudlow are even more unknown, at 88 and 87 percent.

It’s a long way to Election Day, and of course defeating a Democratic incumbent in a blue state is never easy. But the voters are clearly uncomfortable with Dodd’s ethical lapses and obstruction of needed reforms of the housing credit market, and receptive to hearing arguments from Republicans. This will be a race worth contesting.