Dodd Ends Friendship with Financial Firms Amid Failing Poll Figures

The story in yesterday’s Washington Post detailing Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd’s announcement that he will no longer accept donations by banks supported by federal bailout money caused eyes to roll and Dodd-watchers to chuckle from Washington to the five-term lawmaker’s home state of Connecticut.

Noting the Senate Banking Committee chairman’s history as a “friend to the nation’s largest financial firms” and that they “have been his most generous donors,” the Post pointed out that as he seeks re-election next year, Dodd runs commercials slamming credit card companies as “loan sharks” and dubs financial lobbyists as crybabies who think he is “a big meanie” because he won’t take their calls.

“It remains to be seen,” reported the Post, “how the Connecticut Democrat’s makeover will play back home, where voters have been disillusioned by a steady drip of negative reports about Dodd’s relations with the rich and powerful.”

Indeed, a just completed Quinnipiac poll shows Dodd with 51% negative ratings throughout the Nutmeg State and only 37% positive ratings.  The candidate  considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination to oppose Dodd next year, moderate former Rep. Rob Simmons, leads the veteran senator by a margin of 45% to 39% in Quinnipiac’s most recent survey.

In a state where Republican opponents to either Dodd or fellow Sen. and Indpendent Democrat Joe Lieberman usually run campaigns with shoe-strong budgets, Simmons made headlines recently when he reported raising more than  $750,000 for the 2010 campaign.

Quinnipiac also showed Dodd barely edging out another Republican Senate hopeful, State Sen. Sam Caligiuri, by a margin of 41% to 39% statewide.  A third contender, multi-millionaire and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley, was not tested in any polls.