16 February 2006

MA Gov. Poll: Reilly, Patrick Even Among Dems

When Deval Patrick captured two-thirds of the delegates at state-wide caucuses two weeks ago, I wasn't too surprised. Progressives and activists are the usual contingent at those events, and Patrick is the closest thing to a progressive candidate for Governor in this election. Soon after, Suffolk released a poll that had Patrick close within 8 points of Reilly with 31% Undecided, I thought to think that momentum had shifted. In the two weeks prior, Reilly had fumbled over several choices for his running-mate, the end result of which was the catastrophic withdrawal of his second-choice candidate over her tax issues. Here's what he had to say in the aftermath:
Reilly blamed the gaffe on his own weak grasp of politics.

"I have to work and improve on the politics of this campaign," he said. "This is a whole different level of politics and it's never been my strong suit, and I have to improve upon that."
Well, it seems Massachusetts Democrats heard that loud and clear. According to a UMass-Lowell (the alma-mater of both of my parents, by the way) survey, Patrick has pulled even with Reilly, with both candidates pulling in 40% of the vote. The margin of error for the poll is 5%, which is a bit high, and there are still plenty of undecideds who could fall to Reilly simply because of higher name recognition, but, by little work of his own, it appears that Patrick has made the coronation of Reilly --- assumed by many just a month ago --- into an honest-to-goodness summer-long campaign. For someone without a dog in this fight, at the moment, I'm certainly looking forward to it.

Sadly, the UMass poll also shows that neither Democratic candidate is a shoo-in against the likely Republican nominee Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey. Both Reilly and Patrick lead Healey, but by percentages which fall within the margin. Reilly had been a 25% favorite only six-months ago.

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