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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, October 24, 2010

Favorable winds for Patrick?

The most interesting nugget in today's Globe Poll is not that Deval Patrick has opened up a slight lead on Charlie Baker among likely voters. Nope, it's the fact they are within the margin of error on the unfavorability question.

Heading into tomorrow night's final televised debate -- a format where Baker has come across as way too strong and angry -- Patrick has a 49-43 favorable-unfavorable mark while Baker comes in at 38-40.

And the likability question -- the "would you want to have a beer with the guy" question that kept George W. Bush afloat -- is even wider, with Patrick holding a 44-25 margin.

It's hard to come up with the words to describe a campaign that took a candidate that was largely unknown to voters for months and have run a race so that with a little more than a week to go slight plurality holds him in an unfavorable light.

There are still clear rays of light for Baker in the Globe results, which are slightly closer than the WNEC Poll taken earlier this week. More Republicans and independents are "excited" about the election and a near-majority of voters want fresh leadership.

The debate offers the last chance for Baker to close a sale he has struggled to complete since the summer of 2009 when Patrick was given up a a fatally damaged incumbent. His performances in the earlier four-way contests have clearly not done the trick, but to change style and direction on a dime is never easy -- particularly when the candidate doesn't have the same verbal skills as Patrick.

While Tim Cahill has faded into virtual oblivion, he remains the key to the contest. The Globe poll suggests Treasurer Tim is now hurting Baker more, undoubtedly as a result of the ham-handed L'Affaire Loscocco.

And we can't even calculate what impact, if any, Baker's support of embattled 10th District congressional candidate Jeff Perry might have.

Hardly the place we thought this campaign would be when it began.

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