The Massachusetts Governor’s race has begun to heat up and tighten, with a new Rasmussen survey showing Governor Deval Patrick leading by five points over Charlie Baker. The survey shows Patrick at 39%, Baker at 34%, and Tim Cahill at 18%. Those numbers reflect the last few surveys, which have consistently shown Governor Patrick with a small lead. But after September 1 Rasmussen also includes a new number that reflects “leaners”. And what are “leaners”?
Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate.
When that category is included then the numbers tighten a bit, and you can see support begin to melt away from Tim Cahill. With leaners Governor Patrick is at 44%, Charlie Baker at 42%, and Tim Cahill at 8%. That is a tight race.
The survey shows how even amongst those expressing a preference persuasion is still possible. From Rasmussen:
The fluid nature of the race is highlighted by the fact that a large segment of the electorate is still open to changing their mind. Just 64% of Patrick’s supporters are certain that they will vote for him and won’t change their mind. Only 58% of Baker’s supporters are that certain. Not surprisingly, the level of certainty is lowest for the third party candidate—28% of Cahill’s supporters are sure they will end up voting for him.
The ground operations of the campaigns are now critical. The race is wide open, and close. Direct voter persuasion, and lots of paid media are coming. A good ground game, and effective paid media will be critical for the stretch run. Not sure about the paid media portion, but for today the edge goes to the Governor on the ground. Tim Cahill’s chances have to be dealt with in another post, as he continues to mix it up with Howie Carr in a very entertaining way in today’s Herald.