(CNN) - A new poll suggests that Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell's approval rating is on the rise and that she would beat all her potential Democratic challengers in next year's election. The only problem, Rell is not running for re-election.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey, 64 percent of registered voters in Connecticut approve of the job Rell is doing as governor, up 5 points from September. The poll's Tuesday release comes just hours after Rell, a Republican, announced she would not seek re-election in 2010.
The survey indicates that Rell would top Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz 46 percent to 40 percent, leads businessman Ned Lamont 53 percent to 33 percent, and Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy by 19 points, in hypothetical general election matchups.
In a possible Democratic primary matchup, Bysiewicz gets 26 percent to 23 percent for Lamont, with 9 percent for Malloy, according to the poll.
With Rell not running for re-election, the Democratic Governors Association is moving Connecticut into its top tier of targeted 2010 pickup races.
"We are fortunate to have a strong field of Democratic candidates who are well-known public servants, each of whom has the knowledge, leadership, and judgment to
guide the state through these tough economic times," says Nathan Daschle, DGA executive director, in a press release.
Connecticut appears to be friendly territory for Democrats. President Obama won the state by 23 points and Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature. But the last Democrat to win a gubernatorial contest in Connecticut was William O'Neil in 1986.
Rell took over as Connecticut governor in July 2004, when predecessor John Rowland resigned in a corruption probe that eventually landed him behind bars. Rell was elected to her own full term in 2006, winning 63 percent of the vote.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted November 3-8, with 1,236 Connecticut registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points for the overall sample.
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