HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A statewide poll shows Republican Tom Foley leading incumbent Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy by six percentage points as voters give the challenger high marks on the key issues of jobs, the economy and government spending.

The Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday gives the Greenwich businessman 46 percent to Malloy’s 40 percent in the race for governor, WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

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“The big issue in the election is the economy,” said Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “That’s the top issue, voters tell us. And they prefer Foley over Malloy by a significant margin (54 percent to 37 percent) on handling the economy.”

Foley also leads the governor, who’s seeking a second term, in the critical group of independent voters, 48 percent to 35 percent.

A gender gap gives Malloy a 45 percent-to-38 percent lead among women while Foley wins support from men, 54 percent to 35 percent.

Schwartz said Malloy does have time to catch up.

“We’ve got eight weeks to go,” he told Schneidau. “And 6 percent of voters tell us they’re undecided, and another 30 percent say they could still change their minds.”

The election marks a rematch between the candidates. Malloy defeated Foley by 6,404 votes of 1.1 million cast in 2010.

Schwartz said petitioning candidate Joe Visconti has cornered 7 percent of the vote, but his presence in the race does not fundamentally change the balance between Foley and Malloy.

The poll, conducted Sept. 3-8, surveyed 1,304 likely voters with a sampling error of 2.7 percentage points.

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