Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Suffolk Poll Shows Race Tightening Further

Suffolk University released their 7NEWS/Suffolk poll yesterday. The full results are now online and are very interesting to poll junkies like me. Deval Patrick for the first time is ahead in this poll, and has seen his "never heard of" numbers drop to a low of 20%. The fact that he's ahead despite having the lowest name recognition is amazing to me. Here are the current Democratic primary numbers:

Deval Patrick31%
Tom Reilly25%
Chris Gabrieli22%
This poll has quite a few more numbers of undecided voters than the Survey USA poll because it's asking a different question. While Survey USA told respondents to imagine themselves in the voting booth, the Suffolk poll asked "At this point, toward whom would you lean?". Here is a graph of the Suffolk primary numbers so far:
The graph clearly shows the trend for Reilly is not what he wants to see, while the trends for Patrick and Gabrieli are favorable to them. Note also how closely clustered together they all are. The candidates are separated by only nine percentage points in a poll that has a margin of error of +/- 5.26% and a fifth of the voters undecided. Right now the primary is wide open.

The poll also has some interesting questions. Democratic primary voters would prefer to invite Deval Patrick "over to their house for dinner" (30%) but they'd rather trust their household budget to Chris Gabrieli (25%) and they think Tom Reilly (22%) would best understand their healthcare issue. If their child was looking for career advice, respondents are equally likely to ask all three candidates. In a show of unity, over 83% also said that if their candidate for Governor loses, they are at least somewhat likely to vote for the Democratic nominee.

The poll also asked about the Lieutenant Governor primary, where Undecided is poised to walk away with the election -- 79% have yet to pick a favorite in that race.

In the General, all three candidates beat Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. Be sure to check out Kerry Healey -- Out of Touch for reaction to those numbers. The poll also asked about the down-ballot races and the various ballot initiatives. The only one of those that fails is the one sponsored by Mass Ballot Freedom that would bring New York-style fusion balloting to Massachusetts. Voters otherwise seem particularly ready to amend the state Constitution to require health insurance access be available, to ban dog racing and dog fighting, and to allow food stores to sell wine, among other initiatives. Suffolk has a handy chart that sums up support for all the proposed questions. In addition, a plurality, 41%, of poll respondents indicated that they favored recognition of legal marriage between couples of the same sex, and another 32% said they would be OK with civil unions.