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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Keep the bums in

A month before an election many pundits expect to unleash a high level of anger, polls seem to be suggesting Massachusetts voters are annoyed but, in the words of one pollster "more supportive of the devil they know."

It's a fair conclusion to reach when a proposal to cut the sales tax by more than half is barely squeaking by with a 46-43 percent margin before an expected onslaught of advertising likely to hit the airwaves and begin to change voter perceptions about the real cost of sending a message to Beacon Hill.

Equally if not more curious is voter sentiment to leave the sales tax on alcohol in place, even though that would represent a much cheaper way to send that message, depriving state coffers of only $100 million.

The same certainly hold true with the previous day's Globe Poll showing Charlie Baker finally pulling into a statistical dead heat with Deval Patrick after a year on the campaign trail, with Tim Cahill's angry voter message fading away and an incumbent who has barely moved the needle on his own standing after four grueling years in office.

The physical embodiment of that sentiment may well have been on display in Taunton yesterday, at dueling rallies for the 4th Congressional District.

Estimates suggest 2,500 people crammed into Taunton High School for a Barney Frank rally that no doubt was replete with the security that goes with an appearance by former President Bill Clinton.

Meanwhile, as the Herald notes, "on the other side of this hardscrabble city," Sean Bielat drew 250 supporters to an open air rally on Taunton Green, where he continued his signature issue that Clinton's appearance suggested Frank was running scared.

Frank has hardly made a secret of the fact he learned the Martha Coakley Lesson and doesn't intend to take this election for granted. The turnout variance would seem to suggest voters are annoyed, but not ready for tumultuous changes.

Of course, there's still five weeks to go, so stay tuned.

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