Suffolk University Student Poll Shows Mitt Back on Track for Governor


When asked, “If the Final Election for Governor was held today and the candidates were Republican Mitt Romney or Democrat Tom Reilly, toward whom would you lean at this time,” 49% of likely Massachusetts voters selected Romney, while 39% chose Reilly. A total of 12% of the respondents were undecided.

The news gets worse for Attorney General Reilly. Former Congressman Joseph Kennedy, who currently runs the Citizens Energy Corporation, would easily defeat Reilly in a head to head battle for the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary nomination. When asked, “If the Democratic Primary for Governor was held today and the candidates were Joe Kennedy or Tom Reilly, toward whom would you lean at this time,” 46% of likely Massachusetts Democratic Primary voters favored Kennedy, while 32% favored Reilly and 22% were undecided.

“Mitt's back on track,” said David Paleologos, Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center and adjunct professor. “He's still vulnerable at 49% but he's getting stronger every day.”

Over the last several weeks, Governor Romney has made several high-profile trips out of Massachusetts to key states in the Republican Presidential primary process, fueling speculation that he may be interested in running for President in 2008. According to the survey results, Massachusetts likely voters certainly seemed to feel that Romney is leaning toward a Presidential bid. When asked, “Do you think Mitt Romney is more interested in running for: Governor in

2006 or President in 2008,” 28% of respondents said Governor while 48% said President with 25% undecided.

"The governor is in a tight spot right now,” said Suffolk University student Kyli Miller, one of the graduate students implementing the poll. “More people think that he is interested in running for President than Governor, and he would not win in a Republican Presidential Primary here.”

In the Republican Primary race for President, Romney (17%) trailed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (27%), former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (21%), and Arizona Senator John McCain (21%), in a hypothetical 2008 Ballot Test among likely Republican voters in the Bay State.

If Governor Romney does in fact seek the Oval Office in 2008, he may run into some tough questions about his intentions in the 2006 Governor's Race. That's because 59% of likely Massachusetts voters would not vote for a candidate who would not pledge to complete his or her full term, while 24% of likely voters would support a candidate regardless of any pledge.

Should Governor Romney decide not to run for reelection in 2006, the Republican Primary for Governor would be an open race. Likely Republican Primary voters in the latest Suffolk University poll selected Lieutenant Governor Healy (27%), White House Chief of Staff and former state legislator Andy Card (26%), while only 3% selected former Harvard Pilgrim CEO Charlie Baker. However, a significant 44% remained undecided.

With regard to any potential Presidential Primary on the Democratic side of the isle, Massachusetts junior Senator and former Presidential candidate, John Kerry, continues to trail New York Senator Hilary Clinton 46% to 36% among likely Massachusetts Democratic voters while 16% were undecided.

The Suffolk University student poll also examined several hot-button national issues, including social security and stem cell research. According to the survey, 56% of respondents were opposed to shifting a portion of their social security withholdings into private investment accounts, while 25% favored this measure. On the topic of stem cell research, 56% of those questioned believe that the Massachusetts State Legislature should fund stem cell research while 23% believed that they should not.

The Suffolk University student poll was conducted Saturday, March 5, through Tuesday, March 8, 2005. The margin of error is +/- 4.84% at a 95% level of confidence. All 410 Massachusetts respondents indicated they were registered voters, had voted in the last Governors race, and were planning to vote in the upcoming race for Governor.

Suffolk University will release highlights of its survey in chart form on Wednesday, March 16. Cross-tabulation data totaling 140 pages will be released on March 16 th on the Suffolk website ( ). For more information, please contact Suffolk adjunct professor David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.


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