Hartford (AP) — Voters overwhelmingly approved of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's handling of Hurricane Irene, but that did not boost his overall rating, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.
The poll found 79 percent of respondents approved of his response to Irene, which hit Connecticut as a tropical storm on Aug. 28. But the high marks were offset by negative ratings for his handling of the state budget and public employee unions.
"Tropical Storm Irene put no wind in Gov. Dannel Malloy's sails," Quinnipiac poll director Douglas Schwartz said.
Overall, 48 percent of respondents disapproved of Malloy's performance in the poll taken earlier this month. That compares with 44 percent saying they did not approve of his performance in a June 15 survey by Quinnipiac.
Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy's senior adviser, said in an email that the governor had little reaction to the Quinnipiac poll.
"We have tried to be consistent in not saying much about polls because ... what's there to say? Polls come and go, numbers go up and down," Occhiogrosso said.
The poll also found widespread approval of state utilities' handling of Irene's aftermath — with 61 percent giving positive rating — despite outages that affected more than 800,000 customers, including some who waited a week or longer for power to be restored.
Sixty-seven percent of voters agreed with the statement that utilities restored power in a "reasonable" amount of time.
"Connecticut voters are very understanding of their utility companies," Schwartz said. "Two-thirds think the length of time it took to restore power was reasonable given the extent of the damage. That understanding, however, dropped with each day without power."
The poll surveyed 1,230 registered voters from Sept. 8-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.