A new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) trailing former US Representative Rob Simmons, a possible Republican challenger, in the 2010 Senate race.

According to the poll, Dodd trails Simmons 50 - 34 percent, with voters disapproving of Dodd's job as Senator 58 - 33 percent. This is Dodd's lowest approval rating ever.

When matched against two other possible Republican challengers, Dodd trails State Senator Sam Caligiuri 41 - 37 percent and former ambassador Tom Foley 43 - 35 percent.

In the Dodd-Simmons matchup, Democrats back Dodd by only 58 - 27 percent while Simmons leads 87 - 6 percent among Republicans and 56 - 25 percent among independent voters.

The poll showed Dodd with a negative 30 - 58 percent favorability rating, compared to 39 - 12 percent favorable for Simmons with 47 percent who don't know enough to form an opinion.

A total of 35 percent of voters say they definitely or probably will vote for Dodd for re-election next year, while 59 percent say they probably won't or definitely won't vote for him.

A 33 percent job approval is unheard of for a 30-year incumbent, especially a Democrat in a blue state, said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.

Senator 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.

Connecticut voters say 50 - 43 percent that Dodd has strong leadership qualities, but they say 54 - 32 percent that he is not honest and trustworthy and 52 - 39 percent that he does not care about their needs and problems.

Voters won't vote for you if they don't trust you, Schwartz said.

Dodd must find a way to regain the trust of Connecticut voters, and do it before a Republican challenger - and maybe a Democratic primary challenger - gains too much momentum.

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