May 4, 1999 - Patriots Deal Sacks Rowland's Approval, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds; Connecticut Voters Reject Deal Before Team Pulls Out Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
Connecticut Gov. John Rowland's approval has dropped to 63 - 26 percent, pulled down in large measure by voter disapproval of the deal he made to build a new stadium for the New England Patriots in Hartford, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today.

Rowland's approval was 74 - 14 percent in a December 8, 1998, Quinnipiac College Poll. In that same poll, voters approved the Hartford stadium plan 51 - 39 percent.

In the first four days of polling last week, before the Patriots announced that they were backing out of the Hartford plan, voters already had turned against the plan, with 58 percent somewhat or strongly opposed and 38 somewhat or strongly in favor of it, according to a poll by the independent Quinnipiac College.

From April 26 to May 3, Quinnipiac College surveyed 649 Connecticut residents who say they are registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent.

The Patriots announced Friday, April 30, that they were pulling out of the Hartford plan. At that point, the survey of voters was over half completed and Gov. Rowland's approval stood at 63 - 25 percent, virtually identical to the final result.

"The Governor's job performance rating has been hurt by voter opposition to his plan to bring the Patriots to Hartford. After the deal collapsed, we did not see any additional drop in Rowland's numbers," said Quinnipiac College Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.

"Although the governor's approval numbers have dropped, they are still very good, with nearly two-thirds approving of the job he is doing," Schwartz added.

Looking at the stadium plan:
  • 18 percent favored it strongly;
  • 20 percent favored it somewhat;
  • 18 percent opposed it somewhat;
  • 40 percent opposed it strongly.
While 88 percent of those who strongly supported the stadium plan approve of the job Rowland is doing, only 43 percent of those who strongly oppose the plan approve of Rowland's performance.

"Most voters probably are not disappointed that the Governor's plan to bring the patriots to Hartford failed, since most opposed the plan immediately before the deal soured. Connecticut voters probably are not surprised by the turn of events since less than half thought the Patriots would come to Hartford right before team owner Robert Kraft pulled the plug," Schwartz said.

The Quinnipiac College Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.

For additional data --

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way John Rowland is handling his job as Governor of Connecticut?
                                 4/26-   4/30-   Dec 8
                          Tot    4/29    5/2     1998
Approve                   63%    63%     63%     74%

Disapprove 26 25 27 14

DK/NA 11 12 11 11

16. Have you heard or read anything about Governor Rowland's plan to bring the New England Patriots football team to Hartford? IF YES: Have you heard or read a lot, some, or only a little?

                                 Dec 8
                          Tot*   1998

A lot 51% 46%

Some 32 29

A little 14 22

Haven't heard 3 3

DK/NA - -

17. Do you favor or oppose Governor Rowland's plan to spend state funds to build a stadium in Hartford for the New England Patriots? Do you favor/oppose it strongly or somewhat?

                                  Dec 8
                          Tot*    1998

Favor strongly 18% 28%

Favor somewhat 20 23

Oppose somewhat 18 16

Oppose strongly 40 23

DK/NA 4 10

18. Do you think the New England Patriots will or will not come to Hartford? * Responses based on interviews conducted 4/26-4/29


Yes 42%

No 37

DK/NA 20

19. Massachussetts has a new plan to keep the Patriots in Massachussetts. In order to compete with the new Massachussetts proposal, would you favor or oppose Connecticut spending additional funds beyond Governor Rowland's original plan? * Responses based on interviews conducted 4/26-4/29


Favor 13%

Oppose 83