You are on page 1of 1

Rell defends pollster’s project, will review political committee filings

By Ted Mann graduate student researchers and travel, completed, on Jan. 19, to say she planned
Published on 10/9/2009 and Rell was asked how much of the to meet Dautrich “to talk about polling
budget was used to guide political budget messages, specific cuts, etc.,” Rell
Torrington – Gov. M. Jodi Rell said today judgments. insisted Friday that that message simply
that she would direct the treasurer of her meant Moody wanted to discuss the focus
political committee to review with state “I would say zero of that was political,” group results.
elections officials whether any polling the governor replied.
consultation provided by a University of But an email message from Dautrich
Connecticut professor working for her Meanwhile, a spokesman for the four days earlier seems to call that into
administration should have been disclosed University of Connecticut confirmed question.
as an in-kind contribution on campaign that the school’s Office of Compliance
filings. and Ethics is “examining the research “Nice move,” Dautrich compliments
associated with this project to determine Moody on the administration’s one-day
Speaking at a firehouse press conference if it may have violated any aspect of furlough of some state employees, before
in Torrington, Rell said she would UConn’s code of ethics.” changing subjects:
ensure that her political organization
reviews whether it should have paid for And a report in the Manchester Journal- “On another topic, do you want to poll
or otherwise disclosed the services of Inquirer identified the source of the test the host of possible budget cutting
Ken Dautrich, a professor and polling funds used by the Office of Policy and measures that might be included in the
expert who has been conducting a Management to bankroll the Dautrich budget proposal?”
$223,000 budget review project for Rell’s project: A $2 million contingency fund
state office, which also measured voter that Rell and others have previously Moody responded by asking if Dautrich
sentiment. decried as a slush fund and previously would have time “to talk by phone.”
pledged not to tap for government
But Rell also issued a firm rebuttal to projects. Rell reaffirmed today that her
critics who called the Dautrich project an administration had not done any polling
effort to conduct political research using Discrepancies also persist in the public on the budget issues, and defended the
state resources. timeline Rell and her representatives have use of focus groups as a beneficial way to
offered about when the administration inject the perspective of the public into her
“I saw yesterday the public spectacle ... considered employing full-fledged voter budget process.
at the state Capitol,” Rell said, referring polls to test her political messaging.
to press conferences held by Democratic Dautrich suggested conducting “a set of She also declined again to make public
lawmakers and Secretary of the State polls” in the summer of 2008, and was the poll conducted this spring by her
Susan Bysiewicz, who called for more initially met with agreement by Rell’s exploratory committee. That poll
information about the scope and funding chief of staff, Lisa Moody, who replied was conducted by Braun Research
of Dautrich’s project. “I agree – got some money” in an email of Princeton, N.J., a firm Dautrich
message. recommended. Dautrich has said he
“I think it was politics at its worst,” the consulted with the committee on the
governor said. “The individuals who are Moody subsequently warned Dautrich draft questionnaire for that poll, and
out there are generally people who are away from asking about specific head-to- “commented” on the results it yielded.
looking to have my job.” head matchups between Rell and likely
Democratic gubernatorial candidates, and The committee poll did ask respondents
Rell also rejected the interpretation that Rell has said that the administration soon about their views on taxes, Rell said this
a focus group Dautrich conducted to help decided to use a focus group rather than morning, but she said it did not dictate
frame Rell’s budget messaging – an event conduct a formal poll. her positions over the course of this year’s
conducted as part of Dautrich’s taxpayer- contentious budget debate.
supported review project – constituted The officials didn’t consider a poll to
political activity. gauge voter sentiment after deciding to “Polling is a good barometer, but it is not
conduct the focus group, Rell said Friday. a policy make-or-break,” Rell said.
The $223,000 budget compensates the
University of Connecticut for Dautrich’s While Moody did subsequently write
time and pays for external costs, including to aides well after the focus group was