Continuing what has been an unprecedented decline in his popularity, Sen. Chris Dodd’s numbers sank to never-before-seen lows in a poll released by Quinnipiac University on Thursday. The poll showed only 33 percent of the state approved of Dodd’s job performance, the lowest on record for the five-term incumbent.

“A 33-percent job approval is unheard of for a 30-year incumbent, especially a Democrat in a blue state,” Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Director Douglas Schwartz said. “Sen. Christopher Dodd’s numbers among Democrats are especially devastating.”

Since the AIG controversy, Schwartz added, Dodd’s approval rating among Democrats has dropped to 51 percent, with only 58 percent of Democrats saying they will vote for him against former Connecticut congressman Rob Simmons. At this point, Schwartz said, Simmons is the best known and strongest Republican challenger.

Last month, Dodd and Simmons were in a statistical tie. State Democratic officials had predicted this would be Dodd’s lowest point and that he would soon pull ahead.

But last month’s AIG scandal changed everything. Today, Dodd trails Simmons by 16 percent and state Sen. Sam Caliguiri by 4 percent.

Dodd is up for re-election in 2010.