Sunday, July 26, 2009

Coakley leagues beyond others in Globe poll

As you probably have already read, the Boston Globe commissioned a poll. The rather misleading headline reads that "Patrick support plummets", though this is the third straight one that showed Deval Patrick is murky waters coming up on re-election.

The head-to-head numbers are fun, but I wanted to instead focus on voters' impressions of the main figures in the state. I assembled a list of all the statewide officeholders showing their net favorability (that is, % of total respondents with a positive view of a candidate, minus the % with a negative view). Next to that net favorability is a number in parentheses which shows the percentage of respondents with no opinion of the person mentioned.

Generally, you want a high net favorability (which means people like you) with a low number of people with no opinion (which means that people know you and like you).

Some observations are below...

The Executives
Deval Patrick -16 net (3% no opinion)
Tim Murray +22 (48%)

Of all the persons surveyed by the Globe, nobody is liked less than Deval Patrick, and nobody is as strongly defined. Somebody so poorly liked, and with such little room to grow is vulnerable, regardless of the dynamics of the race. Patrick can try to bring up these numbers, but it looks that Deval's main hope may be that he isn't as bad as anyone else on the ballot -- a hope I personally think has a good chance of being fulfilled. Tim Murray, meanwhile, is fundraising at a strong clip and is enough out of the limelight that he is generally well liked.

The Legislative Leaders
Robert DeLeo -4% (49%)
Therese Murray +1% (54%)

Not too bad for the legislative leaders, considering how vilified they often become, especially after passing a sales tax. Despite all the internecine struggles, they seem to have come out of it the better -- both are more popular than the governor. Oddly enough, Murray is less known as a quantity even though I seem to see her on the screen more. Most strangely (and granted, margin of error grows at this point), Murray elicits no stronger an opinion in her home territory of SE Mass than anywhere else -- not much of a homebase.

The Other Guys
Charlie Baker +2% (63%)
Christy Mihos -12% (29%)
Tim Cahill +24% (32%)

I am astounded by Tim Cahill's net positives. More amazingly, he is held in esteem by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, Republicans most of all. He's also notably liked among the wealthy. This is the first time I've seen anything to make me think that Cahill has a shot, but he's in great position on the start line.

I think Mihos is pretty much dead in the water. He used up all his goodwill the first time around, and he has net negative favorability among Republicans.

As for Baker, well, he's a blank slate. If I were him, I'd be getting ads ready for the fall to introduce myself to voters, to beat the others guys to the punch. Baker has lots of potential to sell himself in a positive way, at least as much as a Republican chief of an HMO is able. I maintain the words "Republican chief of an HMO" doom him in this race, no matter how much money he has.

The Future
Martha Coakley +39 (21%)

Nobody is in her league on this poll. She has a +17 among Republicans, and an incredible +48 among women -- Deval's weaker group. In age demographics, she has a great lead among older voters, again the mirror image of Deval.

Right now, it looks as if she could write her own ticket.

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