The Boston Globe released a new poll on Friday, with its new polling partner SocialSphere, and the Boston Herald released one Monday, with its partner Suffolk University. The results, both polling for likely November voters, were not far off from each other. In the key gubernatorial matchup, the Globe shows Democratic primary frontrunner Martha Coakley leading presumptive Republican nominee Charlie Baker 37 percent to 32 percent, while the Herald has Coakley ahead 36 percent to 29 percent. Same diff, at this stage. Both polls also show Baker a little ahead of Steve Grossman and the other, lesser-known Democratic candidates, mostly due to fewer people ready to say they’ll vote for those Dems rather than more actually saying they’d vote for Baker.
In a slightly odd discrepancy that plays against type for the two dailies, the Herald poll shows an electorate somewhat happier with the state’s Democrats, and less keen on Baker and the Republicans, than the Globe.
That’s true is a small way in Coakley’s 7-point Herald lead versus the Globe‘s 5-point spread. But there are differences in that direction throughout. Deval Patrick’s job approval rating in the Herald is a powerful 57 percent approve/29 percent disapprove, significantly better than the Globe‘s 51/39. Baker is seen favorably by 44 percent in the Globe poll, and just 33 percent in the Herald‘s. Herald respondents were also more likely to say Massachusetts is on the right track than the wrong track.
At a quick look, I don’t see anything in the polls’ makeup to account for the difference, which I think was just a little flukey variance. And, some of the responses differed in the other direction: for example, Grossman’s favorability was much higher in the Globe poll.
Also, the Globe poll found Independent candidate Jeff McCormick grabbing a significant 7 to 8 percent of the general-election vote, while the Herald poll shows McCormick barely registering, with less than 2%.
As for what the polls tell us, I would generally agree that Coakley appears to be in a less dominant position than she has seemed in some past polls—although most of us always believed that her double-digit leads were mostly vapor back then anyway. Her favorability numbers seem to have remained awfully strong, however, so I wouldn’t read much weakness into her position yet.
One other quick note: the Herald poll shows Maura Healey ahead of Warren Tolman in the Democratic primary, 21 percent to 18 percent. Four months ago, the same pollsters had Tolman ahead, 25 percent to 17 percent. This race remains well below the radar of even likely Democratic voters at this point, but if I was Tolman I’d be starting to get worried. Those numbers suggest more than just a chunk of voters reflexively choosing the female name; it suggests that she’s winning over voters, while any advantage his name has isn’t providing a cushion as the race starts heating up.
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