Saturday, October 30, 2010

New polling - Gov. Race closing...

The last Rasmussen poll of 750 likely voters shows some possible momentum for Baker over the past week.

Patrick 46%
Baker 44
Cahill 6
Stein 2

A StateHouse News poll of likely voters conducted last week also showed a three point Patrick advantage.

Below is the updated chart of the Rasmussen polling since last March.

All of the polls have shown the race to be tied factoring in the margin of error. However, bear in mind that Patrick has had a consistent lead throughout, but also that the polls have also showed some tightening over the past week. Baker may have a bit of momentum as his final debate performance was better, although Patrick has remained nearly mistake-free throughout this campaign.

Patrick has been running very well among his base of liberals, voters with post-graduate educations, urban voters, younger voters, and is doing well among females where has holds a ten point lead. Baker is faring well among Independents (a 15 point lead, but he needs to get more of them to win), has a substantial lead among male voters, and is doing well in regions where Scott Brown did back in January.

However, in recent days Patrick has mentioned that he is open to considering tax increases which Baker has pounced on with new ads that will be running all weekend. I would think Patrick's handlers must have been beside themselves that Patrick would talk of this during the final week of a close campaign.

Typical of third party candidates such as Cahill is that they usually fade as many voters who may have been initially sympathetic want to vote for candidates who have a realistic chance of winning at the end of the day. Cahill may do well in his hometown of Quincy (where some speculate that he may run for Mayor), but I doubt if he will end with more than 5% of the total vote.

My assessment (for today) is that this is a very close race, but Patrick retains a slight advantage. I will post my final predictions on Monday.

Things to expect over the next 72 hours...

This is now a pure turnout game with the campaigns working to motivating their base vote and getting them to show up on Tuesday. Both candidates will be running advertising, placing calls to individual voters, and crisscross the state holding rallies in their key areas.

Baker will be focusing on areas that went big for Scott Brown in the 495 suburbs along with Worcester County, the North and South Shores, and the Cape. He is also going to be working on blue collar communities (Lowell, Worcester) to try to attract conservative Democrats. His challenge is that his campaign has not been exactly "inspiring". He has to keep framing this as a discussion of continuing the status quo (Patrick) or to embrace change (Baker) and to motivate and convince voters who are upset with the current direction of the state, tax increases, and the frustrating lack of reform. He has to show himself as the only alternative.

Patrick will focus in his urban bases of Boston, Fall River/New Bedford, Middlesex County, and liberal Western Massachusetts. Much of his pitch will be to motivate progressives in the leafy suburbs along with female voters who are favorably inclined to his reelection. Patrick needs to continue capitalizing on the perceptions that he is a calm and reasonable leader and that Baker would be the wrong direction to go for those who value human services and a compassionate government.

72 hours and counting...

The Prof

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