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Polls matter

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More  October 18, 2010 11:18 AM

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One of the most surprising developments in the last five days was the response by Charlie Baker's campaign to the Suffolk University/WHDH poll. His campaign manager, Tim O'Brien, sent out the following email to members of the media:

We’ll be releasing an internal poll this morning showing Baker leading by 7 points.

Little history lesson on Suffolk:

Oct 26, 2009 NJ governor poll- despite other polls showing a dead heat, Suffolk polling showed Corzine at 42% leading comfortably over Christie at 33%, with independent Chris Daggett trailing with 7%.

The result of the race:

Christie: 49%,

Corzine: 45%

Dagget: 6%

So with less than a week out the ballot was 13% off.

Baker campaign surrogates were furious with the results of the Suffolk poll and reacted accordingly. Democrats, admittedly nervous, reacted positively to the findings.

Suffolk pollster David Paleologos and his staff responded to the challenge on NECN and elsewhere. Even one conservative consultant sided with Suffolk saying that it's not appropriate to challenge a public poll that has released all of its crosstabs with an internal one that hasn't.

It was strange to the see the outrage over a locally respected polling operation because the results didn't go a certain way but the chatter grew louder, "This poll is crap!" Later in the morning the Baker campaign released the "Key Findings" of their internal poll along with their new ad to supporters:

Key Findings

1. Charlie Baker has taken a significant lead in the race.
For the first time in our polling, Charlie Baker has taken a significant lead in the race:

Governor Ballot:
Charlie Baker: 42%
Deval Patrick: 35%
Tim Cahill: 10%
Jill Stein: 2%
Undecided: 10%

Charlie leads among Independents by more than a two-to-one margin over Patrick (52%-23%), reflecting the trend we saw earlier this year with Scott Brown.

Charlie is now getting 64% of wrong track voters, 72% of voters who disapprove of the job Governor Patrick is doing, and 72% of "new person" voters. Baker is now the clear alternative for voters who want a change in the Corner Office.

Continuing a trend in this race, Charlie leads by a larger margin among voters most interested in the race - among voters who rate their interest in the upcoming election the highest, rating it 9-10 (62% of our sample) on a 1-10 scale, Charlie leads by a 50%-33%-8% margin.

While we're seeing Democrats across the country close the" energy gap," this is not the case here in Massachusetts.

2. Governor Patrick image hasn't moved.

The Governor's image hasn't moved in quite some time. A majority of voters polled still have an unfavorable impression of Deval Patrick (45% favorable/51% unfavorable), and just 40% of voters polled believe that the Governor has done a good enough job to deserve re-election (compared to 55% who say they want him replaced).

Clearly, voters are looking for a change.

3. Baker's positive image continues to grow.

Charlie Baker remains the only candidate with a positive image in the state:

Charlie Baker: 45% favorable - 30% unfavorable, Margin +15
Deval Patrick: 45% favorable - 51% unfavorable, Margin -6
Tim Cahill 28% favorable - 46% unfavorable, Margin -18

Later the Baker campaign would leak a yet-to-be-released Opinion Dynamics Poll that showed Baker up 5%, along with Question 3 up 15%. Some even cried liberal bias saying the media was ignoring the story because it showed Baker was up in the polls. My initial reaction was interesting but quickly changed to skeptical. I find it hard to believe that Question 3 is doing so well, especially when there has been minimal activity on the ballot questions until this weekend.

Today we're presented with the latest Rasmussen poll and the results of this poll are largely unchanged since the last poll over a month ago. Patrick and Baker have the same percentage of the vote they did with 47% and 42%, respectively.

Will there be a statement from the Baker camp about how this poll is crap? I doubt it because this is from Rasmussen and they're considered a right-leaning polling organization by many. Still, the Baker camp should be concerned with 15 days remaining in the race. Forget seal deal they haven't even landed a meeting. Baker should be up by at least ten and instead they're trailing by single digits.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Garrett Quinn began writing for newspapers at age 17 with CNC in his native South Shore. He has been published in BlueMassGroup, RedMassGroup, Pioneer Investigates, and Wonkette. He is a More »

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