Suffolk University and pollster David Paleologos unveiled their last full poll of the Massachusetts election season yesterday, showing Governor Deval Patrick with a 7 point lead over Charlie Baker. The Governor seems to have strengthened his grip on a lead that he has never given up. Some interesting tidbits from the data.
1) The Governor holds a commanding lead amongst women. Charlie Baker hold a good sized lead amongst men. But Patrick has widened this gap considerably. Baker’s decision to appear with Jeff Perry has to be considered a negative for him. Another sign of a poorly thought out strategic decision by the Baker folks.
2) Suffolk has the Baker lead amongst independents shrinking from 16% to 11%. Baker leads Patrick by 45% to 34%, with Cahill at 13%. For me this is the KEY number, and has been all along. Scott Brown won by over 30% in this category, and I do not see a road to victory for Baker without that type of a margin in this group. And Baker continues to be hamstrung by Cahill here, as that 13% Cahill is taking down would arguably largely drift to Baker under different circumstances (yes speculation). Baker’s weakening here could be as a result of the ongoing fiasco with Cahill, as well as some unenrolled discomfort with the Perry situation. The election has been lost by Baker right in this group. Disagree? Unenrolled voters disapprove of the Governor’s job performance by a 52% to 35% margin. 61% of those voters think Massachusetts is “on the wrong track”. Should Baker be up in that group by more than 11%? You betcha.
3) The “Likeable” factor. Who has the best “temperament” to be Governor? Governor Patrick skunks Baker in this category by a 46% to 22% margin. Why? Because his demeanor and approach has been by far more connecting with voters. Deval Patrick has taken plenty of heat during his tenure as Governor, but I maintain that he is as good in close quarters with voters as any politician I have ever seen. What is the “secret weapon” of the Deval Patrick for Governor campaign. I submit to you that it is Deval Patrick himself. And while being engaging is not enough to win a Governor’s race it should be apparent to all that Deval Patrick is a master of policy. It is a deadly combination if you are a Charlie Baker fan. Baker is deep down a policy guy, and is brilliant in his own right. But that brilliance stops at the presentation level, where he has been choppy and angry. The campaign is to blame directly for that, as well as other strategic errors.
I for one believe the media hype that Republican voters are more motivated this year than Democrats. And that is Baker’s last best hope. If there is a real “Republican tide” that sweeps Massachusetts then maybe Baker can salvage the race. But from a traditional perspective he is toast. From Channel 7:
“We’re past persuasion at this point – we’re into who turns out,” Paleologos said. “And if a large chunk of Deval Patrick supporters from our poll don’t show up next Tuesday, Charlie Baker could win.”
The Suffolk bellwether numbers come out this weekend and should provide some very interesting insights.
The Suffolk Marginals.