7News/Suffolk University Poll: Patrick En Route to Historic Win


With less than 24 hours to go in the State Primary, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick is one step closer to making Massachusetts history, according to a 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll released today. In the Democratic Primary, Patrick (37%) topped venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli (29%) and Attorney General Tom Reilly (21%), while 11% of likely Democratic voters were undecided. Patrick’s 8-point lead resulted from a late August television advertising buy and successful debate performances in September.

“Deval Patrick’s recent surge over the past three weeks has put his campaign in a great position on election day,” said David Paleologos, Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “The Kerry Healey (Republican gubernatorial candidate) attack ad against Chris Gabrieli in the eleventh hour was an added plus to the Patrick campaign. Ultimately, the margin will be a direct result of who actually votes in tomorrow’s election.”

Massachusetts has never elected an African-American Governor in the history of the Commonwealth.

The 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll also revealed that the Lieutenant Governor’s contest is wide open. Former Brookline Selectwoman Deborah Goldberg (25%) led former Worcester Mayor Tim Murray (22%) and Activist Andrea Silbert (20%), with 31% undecided. The poll shows slight momentum for Goldberg since the last 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll was released on August 22.

“When you consider all the races, this is the one that could come down to a re-count,” said Paleologos. “However, Deval Patrick supporters could end up deciding the Lt. Governor winner by discussing it on the Deval Patrick internet platform.”

In other poll findings, the race for Secretary of State does not appear to be close. Incumbent Secretary of State William F. Galvin (60%) topped challenger John Bonifaz (9%), with 28% undecided.

In addition to the statewide survey, a separate component of the Suffolk University political polling platform was household identification (ID) tracking this weekend in the bellwether towns of Reading, Shrewsbury and Chelmsford – three respective towns which most closely reflected the statewide candidate totals in the 2002 and 1998 Democratic Primaries.

In Reading, Patrick led Gabrieli (46%-18%); in Chelmsford, Patrick led Gabrieli (48%-19%); and in Shrewsbury, Patrick led Gabrieli (47%-19%). Tom Reilly finished third in all three areas with 6%, excluding undecided and refusals. Historically, all of the bellwether Democratic Primary towns have varied within 5% from the statewide totals for any individual candidate, including Shannon O’Brien, Robert Reich, Tom Birmingham and Warren Tolman in 2002 and Scott Harshbarger, Patricia McGovern and Brian Donnelly in 1998.

Said Paleologos, “The sound from the bellwether towns was loud and clear across the board: Deval Patrick, Deval Patrick, Deval Patrick.”

In addition to the statewide polling results and the bellwether tracking, the Suffolk University Political Research Center also conducted voter ID tracking of likely Democratic households in two contested state representative districts, the 15th Essex district which includes all of Methuen, and the 6th Worcester district which includes the towns of Charlton, East Brookfield, Oxford, Southbridge, and Spencer. In both districts, Deval Patrick had momentum.

In Methuen, Gabrieli’s 17-point lead over Patrick (29%-12%) had been cut to just an eight point Gabrieli lead (24%-16%) last week with many undecided voters breaking to Patrick. In the 6th Worcester District, Gabrieli’s 5-point lead (20%-15%) two weeks ago was wiped out by Patrick who led Gabrieli, 26%-19%, as undecided voters continued to break Patrick’s way, after a week. In the most recent tracking, Tom Reilly finished third in both districts.

The statewide 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll was conducted September 15 thru September 17, 2006. The margin of error is +/- 4.00% at a 95% level of confidence. All 600 Massachusetts respondents were likely Democratic and Unenrolled voters who said they were certain to vote and who knew when the Democratic Primary was going to take place.

Suffolk University is scheduled to release the marginals and charts on its website on Monday, September 18, 2006. For more information, please contact Suffolk adjunct professor David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.

Suffolk University, located on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, with campuses in Madrid, Spain and Dakar, Senegal (Africa), is a comprehensive global institution distinguished by its teaching and the intellectual contributions of its faculty. Suffolk offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 70 areas of study. Its mission is to provide quality education at a reasonable cost for students of all ages and backgrounds, with strong emphasis on diversity. Suffolk has a combined enrollment of more than 8,500 full-time and part-time students at its Law School, College of Arts and Sciences, and Sawyer Business School.

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