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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, October 29, 2010

Desperate hours

The Mad Hatters of Herald Square are getting nervous as the clock winds down and the latest poll shows Charlie Baker winning -- the race for running the worst campaign.

The front page of today's Tea Party Newsletter and the web site home page are in full booster mode, complete with a Howie Carr column sure to send shivers down Baker's spine: "Don't give up now, Charlie Baker."

And while the latest Suffolk University Poll shows Deval Patrick expanding his lead over Baker to 6 points among likely voters as we drift into double digit hours before the polls open, the Herald offers the spin of Baker pollster Neil Newhouse about how a dead heat in their internal polls is actually an improvement over the 7-point lead in their own poll two weeks ago.

(The Phoenix's David Bernstein expertly demolishes that spin here.)

The Baker camp is hoping for some Scott Brown "magic," but even here the polls let him down: five days out the widely ignored wave in the "cyber buzz" for Brown had broken on the shore in the form of a 6-point lead.

The Baker camp won't be able to fault the Herald for their own failure. The candidate was running around reacting to a resurrected, two-month-old Tea Party Newsletter story that a state agency had considered buying a barge to help place wind turbines in deep ocean waters.

Patrick meanwhile, was out in western Massachusetts, an area with far fewer votes but a place that doesn't hang on the words of the Tea Party Newsletter.

The Suffolk Poll does show some movement for Baker: a drop in support in southeastern Massachusetts, where he has offered tepid support for Jeff Perry; a drop among middle-aged voters and, perhaps worrisome for Patrick as he tours western Mass., a gain in Suffolk County.

Most ominous for Baker though is three-fifths of poll respondents think Patrick will win but only one-quarter expect the Republican to be giving a victory speech Tuesday night.

That means the Mad Hatters of Herald Square are going to be very busy this weekend reporting and deciding.

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