Gov. Deval Patrick holds a narrow lead in the governor's race while independent Tim Cahill currently runs ahead of Charlie Baker, according to a new poll from Western New England College.
Patrick, a Democrat, was backed by 34 percent of the voters while Cahill, the state's treasurer and former Democrat, came in second with 29 percent support. Baker, who collected the Massachusetts Republican party's nomination this past weekend, was third, with 27 percent.
The survey of 481 registered voters was conducted between April 11 and April 15 – before the state GOP convention in Worcester this past weekend that ended with Baker gaining sole control of the party's nomination. Christy Mihos, the businessman who was fighting for the title, failed to get on the primary ballot.
“These numbers reflect a tight race, with Patrick’s opponents splitting the portion of the electorate that is unhappy with the governor,” Tim Vercellotti, director of the Polling Institute and an associate professor of political science at the college, said in a statement.
The poll found that while Patrick would win the election if it were held now, voters hold highly negative views of him and his performance in office. Moreover, voters are increasingly pessimistic about the state overall, fueled by deep worries about the state's economy, the poll found.
Voters are generally disenchanted with Patrick's performance in office because only 34 percent approved, down from 41 percent in March 2009 and 50 percent in November 2008, according to the poll. Patrick is the best known of the three candidates, but 48 percent of the voters hold an unfavorable view.
“These numbers are ominous for an incumbent governor preparing to face the voters in just over six months,” Vercellotti said in a statement. “Patrick has his work cut out for him.”
Large numbers of voters have not heard of Cahill or Baker, the survey found. Forty-five percent of voters either have not heard of Cahill or have no opinion of him, while the same is true for 62 percent of voters when asked about Baker, a former health care industry official.
Vercellotti said Baker's convention victory "might provide some type of bounce in public awareness of Baker. But he still has to introduce himself to a large portion of the electorate.”
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