Reilly Only Democrat to Topple Romney for Governor


When asked, “If the final election for Governor were held today and the candidates were Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Tom Reilly, to whom would you lean,” 45% of likely voters chose Reilly, 41% selected Romney and 14% were undecided.

In addition, when comparing character qualities, more voters trusted Reilly than Romney, 39%-32%, and believed Reilly cares more about people like them, 45%-32%. Romney barely edged Reilly, 38%-36%, when asked which candidate would give you more bang for your tax dollar.

“At this point, Tom Reilly is the Democrats best chance to be elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2006,” said David Paleologos, Director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University. “He holds a large early lead to win the Democratic nomination, but must battle Romney for those ever-so elusive undecided votes in the final election.”

In a possible four-way Democratic primary, Reilly secured 41% of the vote, while his closest challenger, Secretary of State William Galvin, received 11%, followed by former Lieutenant Governor nominee Chris Gabrieli (4%) and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Clinton Administration Deval Patrick (3%). Republican Governor Mitt Romney was a write-in choice by 2% of likely Democratic voters, while 39% were undecided.

“Democratic front-runners historically do well to win Democratic nominations,” said Paleologos. “For example, in the latest two gubernatorial primaries, both front-runners (former Attorney General Scott Harshbargar and former State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien) led from start to finish. Nonetheless, both nominees fell to Republicans in the final election.”

According to the latest 7NEWS-Suffolk University survey, most voters say they no longer want to debate gay marriage and don’t want to vote on the issue. When asked, “should Massachusetts’ voters decide the issue of gay marriage or is it time to move on,” 36% indicated let the voters decided, while 57% said it’s time move on.

For the third consecutive poll, when given the choice between cutting taxes or expanding programs, voters overwhelmingly found expanding programs more important. When asked, “ should Beacon Hill cut taxes or expand programs,” 54% said to expand programs, while 35% indicated to cut taxes. “People want to see expanded programs,” commented Paleologos, “and they’re willing to pay for them.”

In other key findings from the 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll, Senator John Kerry would lose his home state of Massachusetts to Hillary Clinton if both ran in the Democratic primary for President of the United States in 2008. When asked, “If John Kerry were to run for President in 2008 and was opposed in the Democratic primary by Hillary Clinton, who would you lean,” 51% selected Clinton, while just 34% chose Kerry.

“This powerful message is coming from within the Democratic faithful,” said Paleologos. “It’s like receiving family advice to steer you away from a losing scenario.”

Regarding John Kerry’s plans for 2008, only 19% of statewide voters of all parties said that Kerry should run for President again, 39% indicated he should run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, and 35% felt he should run for neither office.

The 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll was conducted from February 3-5, 2005. The margin of error is +/- 4.9% at a 95% level of confidence. All 400 Massachusetts respondents indicated they were likely voters.

Suffolk University is scheduled to release highlights of this survey in chart form on Wednesday, February 9, 2005. Cross-tabulation data totaling 188 pages and marginals will also be released that day and posted on the Suffolk website ( For more information, please contact Suffolk adjunct professor David Paleologos at 781.290.9310.

7NBC (WHDH-TV) is Boston’s NBC Network affiliate, a Sunbeam Broadcasting station, and “the News Station” delivering the market’s leading source for breaking news, special reports, features and critical information: 7NEWS!

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 »