Thursday, July 29, 2010

45% in November should be enough

94 days until November 2 and "E-Day" in the Commonwealth and across the nation...

Joan Venochi had a insightful column in today's Boston Globe asking what "vote percentage" does Patrick need to win in November. Professor Brad says garnering 42% should likely do it - assuming Cahill remains in the race of course.

This 45% number would also apply to Baker and is what I would consider the magic over/under figure. Cahill should poll slightly better in November than Christy Mihos did in 2006 as he has statewide name recognition and enough money to run and organize a statewide campaign - this is not an insurgency. That said, third party candidates typically end up doing worse then they are showing in the polls due to many voters who may be sympathetic to that candidate not wanting to waste their vote whilst in the booth. Many of them ending up holding their nose and voting for the lesser of evils of the candidates who they believe can actually win. Yes that last sentence was full of cliches, but it is true!

Mihos ended up with 7% in 2006 after polling between 10-15% during the summer of 2006. I suspect Cahill can end up with 9% at the least (he is polling somewhat better than Mihos at the same stage of the campaign). Although none of the current polling reflects Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein, she will likely draw a percentage or two from Patrick's left flank. Thus if Cahill and Stein combined can take 11% of the vote (and this is a floor, not a ceiling) Baker and Patrick will fight over the 89% remaining - quick division tells me that 45% would be the threshold to win.

Scenario I (Likely worst case for Cahill)

Patrick 45
Baker 44
Cahill 9
Stein 2

Scenario II (Cahill Overperforms)

Patrick 42
Baker 38
Cahill 18
Stein 2

Scenario III (let's give one to Charlie)

Patrick 42
Baker 44
Cahill 12
Stein 2

On the polling front...Rasmussen released another poll last week in a series of polls that will run once a month and then every two weeks by late October. Below is a chart of the Rasmussen results thus far (Got a bit Excel happy today!)

Deval Patrick's numbers are in a bit of a slide from his May highs. In a normal year an incumbent polling under 40% would be in the political morgue, but this ain't a normal year.

Charlie Baker remains stuck in neutral. This must be frustrating as he gets 30% for having the R next to his name, but can't build on it. He is simply running a mediocre campaign thus far and has a problem with his unfavorables - we will get to this shortly.

Cahill continues to poll in the mid to high teens peeling potential Baker voters away - something that Governor Patrick must be VERY thankful for!

Curiously, those who are in the "not sure" category have jumped a bit in the past month. It may that people are simply not paying attention during the hot New England summer, but I wonder if this coupled with the less than stellar candidate favorability numbers mean that voters simply are not enthusiastic about any of these candidates.

Bear in mind that there is nearly a 5% margin of error so there is also statistical noise here as well. However, I would feel safe saying that Patrick has a small, but meaningful lead.


As we can see, Cahill has been likely hurt by the barrage of negative ads; doubtless to knock him out of the race. However, I think that this may give him a reason to stay in and see it through to the (probably) bitter end.

Baker's negatives are also uncomfortably inching up. Unfortunately for him, Patrick has yet to launch the attack ads that he has in the can. Baker still has time to turn this around and will begin in earnest after Labor Day. The question is - is this enough time to build a positive perception among voters or have opinions solidified to the point where Baker can't break the 40% barrier which he needs to do.

Patrick's negatives are very high and as mentioned previously, should be a stake through his political heart, but the sheer physics of this race allow him to keep a lead. Although he has higher negatives than either Baker or Cahill, ironically Patrick remains the favorite with a little over three months to go.


The Prof


Joe said...

I really wish Rasumussen wouldn't continually ignore third parties. Stein had 8% in a Suffolk poll months ago. There's only been on poll since that included here, the Globe one. It's such a self-fulfilling prophecy that third parties can't get elected, because huge influential polling organizations ignore third parties across the country. Don't you think it's at least fair to include them in polls? What's it take to make democracy the inclusive institution that you're taught in school it's supposed to be?

Brad said...

I agree that they should be included in the polling if they have a realistic chance of getting on the November ballot. I think Rasmussen will be including her going forward and Suffolk certainly will.

Paul Lambert said...

I was surprised by Cahill's (relatively) high numbers (for an independent). It _is_ still early, but I wonder why he has the numbers he does. Is it strictly name recognition or something else? Also, I agree that Baker is stuck in neutral. Maybe he's waiting for Labor Day to begin in earnest; given that a lot of people still don't know who he is, however, he should take the campaign up a notch ASAP.