Voters giving Gov. Deval Patrick negative marks (45 percent) have overtaken those viewing him favorably (42 percent), yet in head-to-head matchups with declared gubernatorial candidates, he comes out on top, according to a poll released today by Suffolk University/7NEWS.

Fifty-six percent of voters surveyed said that "someone else" deserves to be elected, while 29 percent said Patrick deserves to be re-elected.

Three-way matchups

Yet in a matchup with Republican Charlie Baker, CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and state Treasurer Tim Cahill, who has declared as an independent, the Suffolk University/7News poll shows Patrick on top with 36 percent of the vote, compared to Cahill's 23 percent and Baker's 14 percent. Twenty-six percent were undecided.

When Republican Christy Mihos is substituted for Baker, Patrick's share of voters remains the same, while Cahill takes 24 percent and Mihos, a Republican businessman launching his second gubernatorial campaign, is preferred by 17 percent of voters.

In a Republican primary pitting Baker against Mihos, Baker comes out on top with 43 percent of GOP voters polled, with Mihos taking 19 percent, and 38 percent undecided.

The majority of voters -- 54 percent -- said they do not think the state would be better off with a Republican governor.

Cahill strong as alternative

The poll looked at their second-choice candidates, and regardless of whether voters' first choice was Patrick, Mihos or Baker, a strong majority chose Cahill as a second choice. Cahill voters would choose Baker as their backup.

"If all three candidates stay strong, Patrick gets another term," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. "This may be the first time in Massachusetts history that a candidate for governor is actually rooting for both opponents to remain strong and equal."

Favorable ratings outweighed unfavorable for the Patrick challengers, yet name recognition was relatively low. While 35 percent of voters view Cahill favorably, 18 percent had not heard of him. Mihos had a 27 percent favorable rating; 22 percent did not know him. Baker, a first-time candidate, was unfamiliar to 45 percent of voters, with 15 percent viewing him favorably.

Medical marijauna & other issues

Voters also weighed in on the following issues:

 

  • 81 percent approve of allowing medical marijuana sales and usage, with 17 percent opposed.
  • 59 percent favor repealing the sales tax hike, with 36 percent opposed.
  • 35 percent favor eliminating all tolls, with 60 percent opposed.
  • 52 percent favor recognition of legal marriage between same-sex couples, while 28 percent prefer a civil union option, and 13 percent say that same-sex unions should be prohibited.

 

Methodology

The statewide survey of 500 Massachusetts registered voters was conducted Sept. 12-15, 2009. Of those polled, 39 percent were registered Democrats, 15 percent Republicans, and 44 percent independent. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and 170 pages of cross-tabulation data will be posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.