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(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd's battle to retain his Senate seat remains an uphill one according to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll. The strongest declared Republican candidate is former Congressman Rob Simmons. According the poll, Simmons leads Dodd 48-percent to 39-percent -- no improvement and actually a little worse than the 45-percent to 39-percent spread of 2 months ago. Troubling numbers can also be found in relation to the job Dodd is doing. The poll shows 52-percent of those asked disapprove of the job Dodd is doing compared to 42-percent who approve. Doug Schwartz heads up the Quinnipiac Poll and says there is some good news for Dodd on that front. "In previous surveys he's been in the 50's in terms of his job approval among Democrats. Now he's back above 70-percent. Where he continues to struggle is with independents where he gets a negative job approval rating," Quinnipiac University Poll Director Doug Schwartz said. "Independents are going to be a lot harder to turn around than his own partisans but that's really where he has to make progress." Because there are more registered independents in Connecticut than Democrats or Republicans. Some of the numbers in this this poll just don't seem to add up. For example, 55-percent of people asked say Chris Dodd is not trustworthy or honest and yet 62-percent say he does have leadership qualities. Schwartz, though, says there is a difference between leadership and trustworthiness and he compares it to former New York Senator Alphonse D'Amato. "Senator D'Amato had a similar problem where he was known as "the pothole senator". He could get things done for New York but he really wasn't viewed as honest or trustworthy," Schwartz said. And D'Amato was eventually voted out of office. One thing Schwartz emphasizes, though, is there is a long time between now and November, 2010. "If you're Senator Dodd what you want to take some hope in is the numbers are moving in the right direction. Sure, you don't want to be on the losing end and that's where he is right now but in terms of approval his numbers are moving in the right direction but he still has a lot of ground to make up," Schwartz said. "When you're in negative territory, when by a 42 to 52-percent margin people disapprove of the job that you're doing you still have a lot of work to do." NECN's Brian Burnell reports.