The race for Massachusetts governor is a statistical dead heat, with Democrat Martha Coakley (43.8 percent) and Republican Charlie Baker (43.2 percent) less than a point apart in a new Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll of likely voters in the November statewide election. Eight percent were undecided.

The survey by the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston shows Democrats leading by significant margins in contests for other constitutional offices and for the U.S. Senate.

“Massachusetts is the quintessential Democratic state, and yet more Republicans than Democrats have served as governor in the past 100 years,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. "The Coakley-Baker race is very close, and while the two candidates are fairly even in favorable ratings, Coakley’s unfavorables are much higher at 42 percent, compared to Baker’s 27 percent.”

A majority of voters (53 percent) said that Coakley has done an excellent or good job as attorney general, while 30 percent said her performance was fair, and 14 percent poor. Forty-nine percent would expect her to raise taxes.

Forty-seven percent of those polled said they trust Baker to stand up for women’s rights and the handling of issues important to women, and 47 percent said they didn’t think he was being condescending when he addressed a reporter as “sweetheart.”

Casinos & other ballot questions

The survey showed support for retaining the casino laws that now exist, with 53 percent saying they would vote no on the ballot question that would prohibit casinos, 38 percent voting yes, and 9 percent undecided.

Voters favored a question that would provide for up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year for all private and public Massachusetts workers, with 47 percent in favor, 35 percent opposed and 18 percent undecided.

They did not support expanding the Bottle Bill to require deposits on virtually all beverage containers: 58 percent prefer to keep the deposit law as is; 34 percent favor expansion; and 7 percent were undecided.

A slight majority (51 percent) would vote no on Question 1, which would have the effect of retaining yearly adjustments of the state’s gas tax in accord with the Consumer Price Index, while 36 percent would eliminate indexing, and 13 percent were undecided.

Statewide offices

While the race for governor is extremely close, other races are leaning to the Democratic side, as follows:

  • U.S. Senate: Democrat Ed Markey, incumbent, 54 percent, Republican Brian Herr, 30 percent
  • Attorney general: Democrat Maura Healey, 49 percent, Republican John Miller, 18 percent
  • Secretary of state: Democrat William Galvin, incumbent, 55 percent, Republican David D'Arcangelo 13 percent, Green/Rainbow Party Daniel Factor, 4 percent
  • Treasurer: Democrat Deborah Goldberg, 44 percent, Republican Michael James Heffernan, 20 percent, Green/Rainbow Ian Jackson, 5 percent
  • State auditor: Democrat Suzanne Bump, incumbent, 38 percent, Republican Patricia Saint Aubin, 19 percent, Green/Rainbow MK Merelice, 5 percent


The statewide Suffolk University survey was conducted through live interviews of landline and cell phone users. All respondents indicated that they were very likely to vote in the Nov. 4 general election. The survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Thursday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 28. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results will be posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website at noon on Monday, Sept. 29. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.