Massachusetts Could be Ready for an Independent Governor

3/21/2006

For more information, please contact:
Mariellen Norris at 617.573.8450 or
Tony Ferullo at 617.573.8448

Massachusetts Could be Ready for an Independent Governor; Reilly Clings to Lead over Healey and Mihos

Seven News/Suffolk Poll\BOSTON – The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which now boasts a majority of unenrolled voters, could be ready for an independent Governor, according to a 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll released today.

When asked about the upcoming Governor’s race, 75% of likely voters said if the candidate was credible, they would consider voting for an independent candidate for Governor. An additional 11% indicated that they were voting for the independent candidate because “it was time to send a message to the Democratic and Republican parties.” Only 8% said that, under no circumstances, would they vote for an independent Governor.

The 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll also tested a number of statements about independent candidates in general. When respondents were read the statement, “I’d like to see an independent candidate elected Governor for a change,” 52% either strongly agreed or agreed with that statement, while just 24% disagreed or strongly disagreed. A total of 24% of respondents were undecided.

Historically, voter registration statistics have shown a slow erosion of party enrollment which has resulted in a marked increase of unenrolled registrants. “This poll tells us that the stars have begun to align for an independent candidate,” said David Paleologos, Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “The outstanding question is whether Christy Mihos (independent businessman) is the right candidate at the right time.”

While Mihos shows some potential, the race for Governor appears to be Attorney General Tom Reilly’s to lose. When asked, who respondents would lean toward if the election were held today, 34% chose Tom Reilly, 25% selected Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and 15% voted for Christy Mihos. A total of 27% of respondents were undecided.

In the Democratic primary, the 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll showed Reilly leading corporate executive Deval Patrick, 36% to 28%, with 33% undecided. However, when venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli was added to the Democratic hopefuls, the race tightened further with Reilly securing 27% of the vote, followed by Patrick (21%) and Gabrieli (15%), with 37% undecided.

“Gabrieli’s entrance into the Democratic primary makes the race wide open,” said Paleologos. “In this scenario, the biggest block of voters is the undecided voters.”

On the Republican side, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey’s inability to define herself could be a serious political problem come November. When respondents were asked what accomplishment of Healey’s do you remember the most, 88% said “nothing” or “don’t know.”

The 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll also questioned respondents on other hot topics of the day. When asked, should the Catholic church be exempt from placing foster children with same-sex parents, 56% said “no,” while only 30% indicated “yes.”

Concerning another controversial issue, respondents have had enough of drivers using hand-held cell phones. When asked, do you support banning hand-held cell phones to improve driver’s safety, a whopping 80% indicated “yes,” while only 16% said “no.”

The Suffolk University poll was conducted from March 18 to March 20, 2006. The margin of error is +/- 4.9% at a 95% level of confidence. All 400 Massachusetts respondents indicated they were registered voters and had voted in the 2002 gubernatorial election.

Suffolk University is scheduled to release marginals, charts and 228 pages of cross-tabulation data on its website (www.suffolk.edu) on Wednesday, March 22, 2006. For more information, please contact Suffolk University 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 8,300 full-time and part-time students at its Law School, College of Arts and Sciences and Sawyer Business School.

Back to News »