Incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick remains slightly ahead of his Republican challenger, Charlie Baker, in the race for governor of Massachusetts.
The Sept. 15 Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of 500 likely voters in the Bay State finds Patrick earning 45 percent support, while Baker picks up 42 percent of the vote when leaners are included. Democrat-turned-independent candidate Tim Cahill runs a distant third with 5 percent, and another 5 percent favor some other candidate in the race. Two percent are undecided.
This race now moves from leans Democrat to a tossup in the Rasmussen Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard
Two weeks ago, when leaners were included, it was Patrick 44 percent; Baker, 42 percent; and Cahill, 8 percent. Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning toward a particular candidate. The approach anticipates the fact that support for third-party candidates typically declines as Election Day nears and voters begin to gravitate toward one of the major party nominees.
Almost 70 percent of Patrick’s voters say they are already certain how they will vote in November, as do 64 percent of Baker supporters and 54 percent of those who favor Cahill.
If leaners are not included, Patrick captures 42 percent of the vote, while Baker earns 38 percent and Cahill, 11 percent. In the previous survey, when leaners were excluded, Patrick led with 39 percent to Baker’s 34 percent and Cahill’s 18 percent.
Patrick, who is seeking a second four-year-term, has held a consistent lead in the race in surveys since March, but Baker has narrowed the gap in recent weeks.
Voters split about 50/50 on Patrick’s approval rating. And 52 percent hold a favorable opinion of Patrick, including 20 percent very favorable. And 46 percent regard him unfavorably, with 29 percent very unfavorably.
Baker, a former healthcare executive and high-level state official, earns favorables of 50 percent and unfavorables of 34 percent, with very favorables of 13 percent and very unfavorables of 12 percent. But 16 percent don’t know enough about the GOP candidate to venture any opinion of him.
Cahill, the state treasurer who was elected as a Democrat, is seen favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by 45 percent. This includes 4 percent with a very favorable opinion of him and 15 percent with a very unfavorable one. Fifteen percent have no opinion of Cahill.
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