Poll: Baker: 40; Coakley: 38

Posted: Sep 26, 2014 3:15 PM

A new Boston Globe poll surveying the Massachusetts governor’s race shows Republican Charlie Baker ahead for only the second time ever. As it stands, he's up by two.

From the write-up:

As White House Democrats prepare to stump in Massachusetts for Attorney General Martha Coakley in the governor’s race, a new Globe poll shows that national political conditions may be hobbling her chances for victory. Republican Charlie Baker holds a slender lead of 2 percentage points over Coakley, 40 percent to 38 percent, an inversion of last week’s survey, in which Coakley was ahead by 3 percentage points. Among voters who said they will “definitely vote,” Baker enjoys an advantage of 41 percent to 37 percent.

That dynamic hints that Baker could benefit from a low-interest election, a possibility Coakley is looking to avoid by trying to fire up Democratic voters. “The smaller the turnout, the better Baker will do,” said pollster John Della Volpe, chief executive of SocialSphere Inc., which conducted the survey for the Globe.

Naturally, the poll was conducted before Baker was lampooned for the condescending way he recently addressed a female journalist; he’s since apologized, of course, but the unforced error is likely to hurt him. (He already faces a 16-point deficit among women voters).

But for now, he maintains a modest lead. As the Globe notes, the president’s terrible job approval numbers (46/48) might be affecting Coakley’s electoral prospects. (And yes, while his job approval numbers are much, much lower in other blueish states, the fact that they’re still upside down is telling).

The most interesting statistic, however, is that 18 percent of respondents haven’t yet decided who they’ll vote for. This makes Baker’s lead all but illusionary, I think, since it ultimately falls within the margin of error -- and so many voters are still making up their minds. But this little nugget might be of interest.

“In the battleground of unenrolled voters, who account for the majority of the state’s electorate, Coakley is “underwater,” with 38 percent seeing her favorably and 52 percent unfavorably,” the Globe writes. “Baker, on the other hand, earns a 59 percent favorability rating among those voters, and a 17 percent unfavorability. Among unenrolled voters, Baker leads, 45 percent to 23 percent."

Frankly, that’s remarkable, and gives Republicans cause for optimism. But it also demonstrates that Coakley doesn’t appear to be a terribly likable candidate since a majority of respondents view her unfavorably.

Still, can she earn enough support -- and garner enough votes -- to put her over the top on Nov. 4th? We shall see.