What do Connecticut voters say should be the top priority for Governor Dannel Malloy and the General Assembly in 2015?

It's jobs, the economy, and the state's business climate according to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll.

Of the 1,235 voters pollsters surveyed between March 6-9, 22% said those issues must be lawmakers' main priority.

Another 18% listed taxes; 14% said the state's budget and government spending; 12% nominated education; and 7% said transportation was the priority for this year.

All other issues--including healthcare, social services, minimum wage, gun policy, and the environment--registered in the low single digits.

Economic direction

State lawmakers are now reviewing Governor Malloy's 2015-2017 budget proposal, which includes $900 million in revenue increases and $1.3 billion in spending cuts.

Businesses would be hit with almost half a billion dollars in new taxes in the Governor's budget, impacting crucial investments in research and development, capital expenditures, and--ultimately--job growth and the economy.

The survey also found that less than half of Connecticut voters (47%) are satisfied with the state's direction, while 53% said they were dissatisfied.

That's a slight improvement from the last time Quinnipiac asked the question in May, 2014 (44% satisfied, 56% dissatisfied).

Just 35% of survey respondents described Connecticut's economy as excellent or good, while 64% said it was 'not so good' or poor.

Slow recovery

That's not surprising, given the state's long, slow recovery from the recession.

Connecticut has only regained 81% of jobs lost during the March 2008-February 2010 economic downturn, while the U.S. average is 120%. And our 6.4% unemployment rate contrasts starkly with the national rate of 5.6%.

When asked by the Q-Poll if they thought the state's economy was getting better, just 22% said yes, while 25% thought economic conditions were worsening, and 51% replied it remained the same.

Do voters feel they're financially better off than they were a year ago?

Yes, said 38% of respondents, while 36% said they were worse off and 24% said their financial situation was the same.

Other Q-Poll findings:

  • 35% of voters said they approved of the Governor's handling of the state's economy and jobs, with 57% saying they disapproved;
  • 20% said the Governor's economic policies helped the economy, 28% said they hurt economic growth, and 44% said they made no difference;
  • 27% approve of the Governor's handling of the budget, while 62% disapprove;
  • 29% approve his handling of tax policy, with 64% disapproving;
  • 45% approve of the Governor's management of transportation policy and 40% disapprove;
  • 50% were optimistic about the next four years with Malloy as Governor, with 44% pessimistic;
  • State lawmakers received 39% approval against a 46% disapproval rating
  • 36% support highway tolls, while 61% are opposed;
  • 59% support tolls if those revenues are dedicated to repairing the state's roads and bridges (40% oppose)