Red Mass Group is reporting that Charlie Baker released an internal memo showing that his latest internal poll shows him within 7 points of Deval Patrick.
TO: TIM O’BRIEN – BAKER FOR GOVERNOR CAMPAIGN
FROM: NEIL NEWHOUSE – PUBLIC OPINION STRATEGIES
SUBJECT: RECENT BAKER POLL DATA
DATE: AUGUST 9, 2010
As you know, our firm recently completed a statewide survey in Massachusetts of 500 likely general election voters. The poll was conducted July 25-27 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.38% in 95 out of 100 cases.
1. Just over one-third of voters believe that Deval Patrick deserves re-election.
Just 36% of voters believe that Patrick deserves re-election, while 59% believe it’s time for a change and a new person to be elected Governor. These figures parallel the sentiment that the state is off on the wrong track (57%), and the clear sense that the state’s economy is NOT getting better (80%). Massachusetts voters are clearly not enamored with the political status quo in the state.
2. Baker trails Patrick by just seven points.
While our previous poll in April showed Patrick with an eleven-point lead over Charlie, the current poll shows that has been whittled down to just seven (39% Patrick / 32% Charlie, with Cahill at 17%).
3. Baker’s name ID is tracking Patrick’s 2006 numbers.
While Charlie is just seven points back, he is still not all that well-known in the state, as his image is 32% favorable/15% unfavorable, with 53% of voters either having no impression or having never heard of him. Those who think these might be low should understand that Charlie’s current image score is almost IDENTICAL to both POS and Suffolk University August 2006 polling regarding Deval Patrick (POS – 34%-14%/52%, Suffolk – 36%-14%/51%).
Charlie’s potential for picking up support is pretty clear – among those voters in the state who have heard of Charlie Baker, he leads Patrick by 39%-37% on the trial heat. He’s leading by 12 points among voters who rank their election interest as a “9 or a 10″ (44% Baker, 32% Patrick, 16% Cahill).
Despite being a first time candidate who was not that well-known coming into the race, Charlie Baker is clearly closing the gap in this race as Massachusetts voters continue to have doubts about Deval Patrick. Baker is picking up support not only among Independents, but among those voters who say the state is on the wrong track. He is gradually becoming the “go-to” candidate for “change” in the state.
It’s helpful to put this race in perspective. Charlie Baker’s current image among Massachusetts voters is identical to where Deval Patrick was four years ago.
With a little more than 80 days left in this race, Charlie Baker is right where he wants to be – single digits back in a political environment favoring the outsider/challenger candidate against two incumbents, with a very positive image and room to grow on the ballot.
This internal poll seems to confirm the most recent Rasmussen poll that showed essentially the same thing – Patrick is still leading, but the margin is narrowing albeit very slowly.
This poll does show that Cahill, while he doesn’t have enough support to be a viable candidate, may still have enough to be a spoiler for Baker.
The electorate breaks down as it has for months now with 65% voting against Patrick and 35% for him. Patrick’s core support is likely around 35% no matter what happens.
Republican strategy was to knock out Cahill early to demonstrate to Republican voters that Baker is the only viable Republican candidate. That is why the RGA paid for a massive negative campaign against Cahill a few months ago. It’s similar to their strategy with Daggett and Christie in Pennsylvania.
As we get closer to November, Cahill voters are going to realize that a vote for Cahill is a vote for Deval. As elections get closer people tend to abandon third place candidates and focus on the top two.
To have any chance Cahill needs to start showing powerful momentum very soon. But it is hard to see how he can do that given that he is very far behind in the polls and has a lot less campaign cash on hand to get his message out.
While Cahill will certainly be a factor for Baker in November one potential wild card is how much Jill Stein pulls from Deval’s progressive support. Stein is in a similar position. Her campaign needs to start showing significant momentum soon.