Sunday, June 27, 2010 poll shows race tightening

Hot of the presses...the Boston Globe through the UNH Survey Center released a poll showing better news for Charlie Baker, caution for Deval Patrick, and troubling results for Tim Cahill.
Baker is holding in the low thirties which is not bad for a candidate with nearly half of the public still not knowing who he is (message to Charlie, keep spending on those ad buys). Being a relatively unknown commodity can cut both ways. The danger for Baker as I have been stating all along is that if Patrick succeeds in defining him and driving up his negatives than he will lose. Amazingly, 40% of registered Republicans said they did not know enough about him to form a favorable opinion.

Baker's best news is the steep drop for Cahill. This is also reflected in the Rasmussen polling and many of these anti-establishment voters will more likely than not turn to Baker. Cahill's support is cratering and is approaching what third party candidates typically garner come election time which is less than 10% of the vote. Evidently, the barrage of negative ads targeting Cahill had an effect (yes, negative ads are very effective if done the right way). I don't see how Cahill can recover as his negatives are heading up and his loss of support will enforce the perception that he can't win and that a vote for him will be a wasted vote. He needs to act immediately to counter this - waiting until September will be too late!

MA is on the:
Right Track 40%
Wrong Track 49%

Deval Patrick continues to rely on committed Democrats and liberals to maintain a base in the high 30s/low 40s. He needs Cahill to rebound, otherwise he will likely lose if this becomes a two person race. Any incumbent with negatives outweighing approval has to have some outside factors intervening if they hope to win. If this is an up or down referendum on Patrick, he is more likely than not to come out on the losing end of this. The right track/wrong track numbers are scary indeed for Patrick supporters.

Independents, the KEY swing voter bloc in Massachusetts are currently breaking 35% to Baker, 30% to Patrick, and 12% to Cahill. Baker needs to garner at least 50% of these voters. Patrick has to continue to pull in liberal voters who consider themselves to be independents.

Regionally, Baker is showing strength in the areas of the state where Republicans typically have a base of support in the outer suburbs, Central, and Southeastern pats of Massachusetts. As expected, Patrick is doing well in the Metro Boston area and in Western Massachusetts.

I don't expect either candidate to win by more than a few points. Patrick can't get to 50% (at least not yet) and Baker can't either - especially as long as Cahill in the race. One other note - will Green Parity candidate Jill Stein be able to siphon off a percent or two of liberals who would otherwise vote for Patrick and hand the election to Baker? Baker still needs to perform and find his inner Scott Brown to close this deal. He has four months to do so.

Let the games continue - Onwards!

The Prof

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