Suffolk University Bellwether: Deval Patrick Leading

11/1/2010

With just a day to go before the 2010 mid-term election, Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick (47 percent) led Republican Charlie Baker (40 percent), according to the Suffolk University bellwether ID poll taken in Waltham over the weekend. Independent candidate Tim Cahill had 9 percent while Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein had just 1 percent. Only 3 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

“Charlie Baker isn’t showing the kind of voter strength that Scott Brown showed back in January,” said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Boston’s Suffolk University. "If Baker wins statewide he'll have to do it without Waltham and cities like Waltham, reversing historical trends. It's possible but not probable because it puts more pressure on the remaining cities and towns that Baker has been counting on to produce higher Baker margins."

In November 2002, Republican Mitt Romney won Waltham by 7 points and went on to defeat Democrat Shannon O’Brien by 5 points statewide. In the next governor’s election in 2006, Democrat Deval Patrick won Waltham by 19 points and went on to defeat Republican Kerry Healey by 20 points statewide. In January of 2010, Scott Brown won Waltham by less than 1 percent while going on to defeat Democrat Martha Coakley by 5 points statewide. Waltham has been consistent and close throughout.

Statistically, Waltham is a city that has recently swung to both the Democratic and Republican sides for governor and was within 4 points of candidate totals in all of the above mentioned races in addition to calling the correct winner statewide three out of three times.

At this point it appears that there are limited scenarios left from the most probable to the least probable: first, Patrick wins Waltham and wins statewide; second, Patrick wins Waltham but loses statewide or vice versa, eliminating Waltham as a future mid-term bellwether; three, Patrick loses Waltham and loses statewide. The last scenario is the least probable at this point.

"Cahill's support continues to be strong. He is on pace to break the all-time record for most votes cast for an Independent candidate for governor of Massachusetts," said Paleologos.

Methodology

The Waltham bellwether ID included 300 Waltham likely voters randomly selected from a list of voters who also indicated that they were almost certain to vote. All other respondents were screened out. The field was conducted Oct.29 - 30, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 5.5 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Bellwethers are designed to predict outcomes, not margins. Results will be posted Monday, Nov. 1 at noon on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site: www.suffolk.edu/college/1450.html. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleolo@suffolk.edu.

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