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Patrick keeps lead in new poll on gubernatorial race

By Michael Levenson
Globe Staff / May 26, 2010

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Governor Deval Patrick continues to hold a lead over his three challengers in the governor’s race, with rival Timothy P. Cahill stuck deep in third place, according to a new Suffolk University/7News poll.

In the poll, Patrick won support from 42 percent of respondents, compared with 29 percent for Republican Charles D. Baker and 14 percent for Cahill, the state treasurer who is running as an independent. Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein picked up 8 percent, while 7 percent of voters said they were undecided.

The findings affirm the results of a poll two weeks ago by Rasmussen Reports, which provided the first indication that Patrick, who was seen as struggling to win reelection, had picked up steam, while Cahill had slipped badly following a barrage of negative ads from the Republican Governors Association.

The Rasmussen poll, which did not include Stein, showed Patrick at 45 percent, Baker at 31 percent, and Cahill at 14 percent.

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said the latest poll shows Cahill’s decline has been a “clear net positive’’ for Patrick, even though past polling data indicated Baker would pick up most former Cahill voters.

Baker, who has been raising more money than others in the race, is still relatively unknown, according to the poll. Sixty-three percent of voters have no opinion of Baker or have never heard of him, the survey showed.

“Who was the net beneficiary over the last four weeks?’’ said Paleologos. “It was Deval Patrick, and that’s significant because the undecideds are getting dangerously low here, and it forces Baker to make the case for himself and try somehow to appeal to the Cahill and Stein voters who are currently not in his column.’’

The poll indicates some problems for Patrick. His favorability rating is 45 percent, with 46 percent of respondents viewing him unfavorably. That is an improvement from a Suffolk poll in February, which showed him with a 38 percent favorability rating.

But Baker and Cahill have their own problems with voters. Cahill’s negative ratings have risen to 34 percent from 16 percent in February, while his favorability rating dropped from 31 percent to 22 percent in the current poll.

Cahill’s running mate, Paul Loscocco, former state representative, was asked in a chat on Boston.com yesterday whether, with Cahill slipping, the independent ticket thought it had “a shot at winning.’’

“Absolutely,’’ Loscocco wrote. “Tim and I firmly believe that our message of cutting taxes, fixing the economy, and growing small business in order to create jobs best reflects the views of a majority of voters in the Commonwealth.’’

Voters’ views of Baker have not changed much, the Suffolk poll indicates, with a third still undecided on him. His favorability rating is 20 percent, compared with 18 percent three months ago, numbers that reflect his relative anonymity in the race. His unfavorability rating rose from 12 to 17 percent.

The poll of 500 registered voters was conducted Thursday to Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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