(CNN) - A new poll of Connecticut voters indicates that Senator Christopher Dodd's approval rating is on the rise, but still in negative territory.
Forty-two percent of people questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday morning say they approve of how Dodd is handling his duties as senator, up nine points from April. But 52 percent disapprove of the job Dodd's doing in office.
The poll suggests Dodd is still struggling with independent voters, with six in 10 giving the five term Democratic senator who's up for re-election next year a thumbs down.
Quinnipiac's April poll came out right after the news of Dodd's involvement in the AIG bonus controversy. Since then, a bill Dodd co-sponsored that makes it tougher for credit card issuers to raise feeds and interest rates was signed into law. And with Sen. Ted Kennedy sidelined as he battles brain cancer, Dodd as taken a leading role in steering health care reform through one of the key congressional committees dealing with the legislation.
"Sen. Dodd's numbers among Democrats are back to where they used to be," says Quinnipiac University poll director Douglas Schwartz. "But he still is struggling with Independents, who will be harder to win back than his own partisans."
"Dodd's most glaring weakness continues to be that a majority of voters say he is not honest and trustworthy. This is not something that will be easy for Dodd to reverse," adds Schwartz.
The poll indicates Dodd trails former congressman Rob Simmons, a likely Republican challenger, 48 to 39 percent in a hypothetical matchup in next year's Senate race.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted July 16-20, with 1,499 Connecticut registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.