Today's Sunday Globe headlines a new poll featuring a lot of bad news for Governor Patrick. A few highlights...
- Patrick's unfavorable rating is 52% with 36% viewing him positively. A sizable minority of registered Democrats disapprove as well. Approval among Independents who propelled him to his post in 2006 is only 28%.
- 61% of respondents agree that Massachusetts is on the wrong track - bad news for any incumbent.
- In a hypothetical three way race with Cahill, Baker, and Patrick it is essentially a tie between Cahill and Patrick with baker running a few points behind. The Cahill factor looms large as a head to head race between Baker and Patrick show Baker winning by 6 points. If this holds, it tells me that Cahill is hurting Baker more than hurting Patrick. The internals show Independents breaking to Cahill in a three way race and to Baker in a two way race.
- 63% of the sample don't know who Baker is - he needs to put a lot of effort into defining himself. In this case, the contested primary with Mihos should help do that. Mihos is better known, but has rather high unfavorables.
- Cahill starts with relatively good name recognition and high personal approvals. If this were a head on head challenge to Patrick in the Democratic Primary, Patrick would have a fight on his hands. I don't see this as likely right now, but possibly Cahill does really catch fiore and becomes the "anti-Patrick" in this race.
- Patrick has substantial support among those with graduate degrees and suburban liberals. This will be the base he needs to hang on to the governorship.
The poll, conducted among 545 respondents statewide from July 15 to 21, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. It is a poll of adults and not voters. That coupled with the large margin of error makes it difficult to draw definitive conclusions regarding the actual race in terms of candidate support, but it does indicate mounting problems for the governor. The hypothetical matches are a fun exercise, but really don't tell us much at this point except that there is a lot of antipathy toward the governor and that nobody knows who Charlie Baker is yet.
Last month I gave Governor Patrick a 65% chance of winning reelection. Based on this poll and other ongoing political factors, I am dropping that to 55%. Cahill may end up being the governor's political savior in the end - if he was not in the race, I would give Baker a slightly better then even chance to take Patrick out.