Thursday, 4:30 PM
Patrick opens a 27-point lead, poll says
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
Democrat Deval Patrick has a commanding 27-point lead in the governor's race as independent voters abandon Republican Kerry Healey because of her negative attacks, according to a new poll released today by 7NEWS and Suffolk University.
Patrick had the support of 53 percent to Healey's 26 percent in the survey of 400 likely voters taken Oct. 20 through Oct. 23.
"The tone of the campaign has moved independents away from Healey," said David Paleologos, Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. "The tone changed from constructive criticism to negative and really turned off independent voters."
Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said they were unlikely to vote for Healey because of the "tone" of the campaign. Healey has particularly criticized Patrick's record on crime.
In another question, 53 percent of those surveyed said that Patrick was not "soft on crime," compared to 26 percent who thought the former federal prosecutor would go easy on criminals. However, 24 percent of those who participated in the poll said that Healey was tough on crime, while 59 percent said she only talked tough.
The poll, which had a margin of error of 4.9 percent, gave independent Christy Mihos the support of 9 percent of those surveyed, while Green Rainbow nominee Grace Ross had 2 percent. Eleven percent of likely voters remained undecided.
This was the third 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll this month. The first poll released Oct. 5 gave Patrick a 49 percent to 28 percent advantage.
After Healey launched ads attacking Patrick's record on crime, however, the Democrat's lead dropped to 46 percent to 33 percent, or 13 points, in a poll that came out Oct. 12. Today's poll gives Patrick his largest lead at 27 points.
The Healey camp issued a release this afternoon that did not mention the poll but said the lieutenant governor would spend the last two weeks of the campaign "highlighting her specific plans to make Massachusetts more affordable for families and more competitive for businesses."
"The voters need to take a hard look at what Deval Patrick stands for," said Amy Lambiaso, a Healey campaign spokeswoman, in an e-mail. "Deval has no plans for Massachusetts except to raise taxes, lower standards in our schools and put dangerous criminals back on our streets."
"He's afraid to debate Kerry Healey one-on-one because he knows he is too liberal for Massachusetts," Lambiaso said.
Patrick's communications director, Richard Chacon, also issued a statement.
"While it's important to not take polls too seriously, it seems clear that voters are rejecting the negative campaign tactics of Kerry Healey's campaign," Chacon said. "People across the state are responding to Deval Patrick and Tim Murray's leadership experience and their vision for leading Massachusetts."