Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Trends for State House News Poll

The latest State House News poll was released this week, and the big story is that candidate Chris Gabrieli's media campaign seems to be raising his name recognition, but Attorney General Tom Reilly still remains the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Here are the head-to-head general election results from the State House poll for the general election, with the March results in parentheses.

 DemocratHealeyMihosDon't Know
Tom Reilly38.0%
Chris Gabrieli37.0%
Deval Patrick29.2%

Looking at these results a couple of things jump out. First of all, Gabrieli has dramatically increased his head-to-head numbers, most likely the result of his ad campaign. In addition, Mihos' numbers have slipped across the board probably because he hasn't been in the news much since he launched his candidacy. Kerry Healey is now doing worse against every Democrat than what we saw in March, and though she still has the edge on Deval Patrick, it is within the margin of error, and four points smaller than it was just two months ago.

Here are the trend lines for the primary, using the State House News poll results since January.

Now, the January results aren't really comparable because Chris Gabrieli was not an option in that poll. Still, I think it's useful to see where the candidates started the year off. The trend for Attorney General Tom Reilly is pretty bad, falling 20 points in four months. Deval Patrick's trend line is relatively flat -- all his results are within the margin of error of each other. That's probably not what he wanted, but it's to be expected given how he's relied almost exclusively on earned media. That is, he's been trying to make news rather than buy ads. That's hard to do when you're not an elected official, and you only ever reach people who watch local newscasts or read the newspaper. Gabrieli on the other hand has increased dramatically, and you can chalk that up to his media buy. The number of people having no opinion of him has decreased by nearly 20 points since March.

One thing that most folks have failed to mention is that if Gabrieli can boost his name recognition with an ad blitz, so too could Independent candidate Christy Mihos. While the poll shows Mihos stagnating, it also shows his "No Opinion" numbers around 60% -- no one knows him yet, and that will change after he gets on television. There's no reason for him to get on TV in May. Gabrieli had to make his case that he deserved to be on the primary ballot, but Mihos doesn't have a primary and has until August to even collect his signatures. Also, the poll showed that Mihos pulled more Democrats than Republicans, but don't forget it's the Independents that will put Healey in the Corner Office, not the Republicans. There just aren't enough of them. Mihos gets more Independent voters that Democrats or Republicans, which is still bad news for Healey and the state GOP.

One more bit of good news for Deval Patrick in the poll is that it indicates that over 70% of respondents support Cape Wind, and he's the only gubernatorial candidate to come out in favor of it. That support cuts across all party lines, though Independents (74.6%) and Republicans (76.9%) favor it slightly more than Democrats (66.7%).