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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poll dancing

The news on the front page of today's Boston Globe wasn't all that welcome to Deval Patrick and his supporters, with the latest Globe Poll showing Charlie Baker closing the gap to 35-34, a one percentage point dead heat.

But, wait a minute. Didn't a survey taken by Western New England College show Patrick up by a 39-33 percent margin? And didn't Baker's own internal poll show the race at 38-34?

What's more, the polls were all taken in roughly the same time period. So why are they different?

In one sense, they are not. All are roughly within a 4 percent margin of error, meaning each suggest a virtual dead heat.

The WNEC poll could be considered the outlier because of the six-point spread. But so can the Globe poll, given it's the only one to bring the race down to a point.

But because the headline in the region's largest newspaper reads 'Baker catches Patrick" you know which will get the lion's share of attention.

While all the polls spell bad news for Tim Cahill, hovering between 11 and 15 percent, there are still a number of factors that make this race extremely volatile. One of the fact Baker remains an unknown to 30 percent of the electorate five weeks out.

Another is that voters who may abandon Cahill are mixed whether to support Baker or Patrick, defying conventional wisdom.

Baker does benefit from Republican enthusiasm and the anti-incumbent mood. But Patrick still has a chance to do an effective job in telling his positive story.

The real lesson from this poll is that five weeks are a long time and things can change.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was Cahill ever going to be someone other than the candidate who could effect the votes going to the top 2 candidates, but could never be considered in the hunt for the top job? All he can do is take from Patrick and Baker, and get woefully few votes of his own.

September 26, 2010 8:57 AM  

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