Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bay State Poll Results and Cross Tabs

Yesterday, Merrimack college released the full report on their Bay State Poll, which they do every few months for the Eagle Tribune Publishing Company. The results are similar to other recent polls, in that Attorney General Tom Reilly is leading Deval Patrick in the Democratic primary, but not by nearly as much as he had just a few months ago, and both Democrats poll higher than Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey in a hypothetical general election that includes Christy Mihos as an independent candidate. Here are the findings in those matchups:

Tom Reilly37.5%
Deval Patrick21.8%

Tom Reilly (D)39.2%
Kerry Healey (R)21.2%
Christy Mihos (I)14.6%
Deval Patrick (D)32.0%
Kerry Healey (R)28.0%
Christy Mihos (I)13.0%

They also asked questions about head-to-head general matchups. When you compare those numbers to the above, you find that with Mihos in the race, Kerry Healey loses 11.4 points against Deval Patrick and 12.4 points against Tom Reilly. On the other hand, Mihos only steals two to three points from the Democratic candidate. That right there is why Republicans tried so desperately to convince Mihos to run in the GOP primary instead of turning the race into a three-way contest. Also, if you look at the party breakdowns of the general election, you find that Kerry Healey again does not have the Republican vote locked up to the extent that she will need it if she is going to win in November. She loses almost 25% of the GOP vote when matched up against Mihos and either Democrat.

Another piece of good news in the poll was that 58% of Massachusetts residents favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, with 32% opposed and 9% undecided. The number who favor marriage equality just seems to keep growing. While it's true that this sort of poll result is not very trustworthy (people are likely to give the answer they think the pollster wants to hear, rather than how they'd really vote) the trends look favorable for the forces of good should it come to a vote in 2008.

One other thing that I noticed about this poll also does not bode well for Kerry Healey and the state Republicans. The poll asked respondents about their top priority for the Massachusetts government. I've provided those results here, ordered by the number of independents who responded with that particular concern.

Top Priority for MA GovernmentDemocratIndependentRepublican
Healthcare and Health Insurance23.8%26.2%16.2%
Jobs and the Economy12.6%11.7%16.1%
The Cost of Housing/Living5.7%6.3%7.8%
Moral Values1.5%4.8%5.9%
Government Corruption2.9%3.6%6.0%
Roads and Transportation Infrastructure1.1%2.9%1.7%
Energy Costs3.8%2.7%4.2%
Some Other Issue2.4%2.1%0.7%
The Environment5.2%1.6%4.8%
The Business Climate2.4%1.4%3.6%

Independent Massachusetts residents are first concerned about Healthcare -- in fact that ranked as everyone's highest priority. After that, Education, then Jobs, poverty, housing costs, taxes, and so on. What's interesting about this to me is how low a priority crime is on this list, even despite how it has dominated the local news as an issue in the past year or so. It's eighth, behind Moral Values and just above Government Corruption. Could this be a problem for the Healey/Hillman 'law and order' ticket? Will the public, and independent voters in particular, respond to a campaign that touts their (real or imagined) crime prevention bona fides if people are more concerned about whether or not they have health insurance or if their kid is going to a good school?