Poll Shows Coakley Leading Democratic Rivals and GOP's Baker in Race for Governor

Democrat Martha Coakley (44 percent) led Republican Charlie Baker (31 percent) in the race for governor in a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll of screened likely voters.

“The survey shows that Martha Coakley is the frontrunner in the Democratic pack, and she leads Charlie Baker by double-digits,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “However, Baker shows considerable strength when matched up against the other potential Democratic nominees.”

Baker led Democrats Steve Grossman (33 percent – 28 percent), Juliette Kayyem (37 percent – 19 percent), Donald Berwick (38 percent – 19 percent) and Joe Avellone (38 percent – 19 percent).

In a hypothetical five-way Democratic primary presented to registered Democrats and independents who said they would choose a Democratic ballot in the primary, Coakley (56 percent) led Grossman (11 percent), Kayyem (4 percent), Avellone and Berwick (1 percent each), with 27 percent undecided.

Coakley shows strength among key demographic groups. The poll showed that the attorney general is the choice of 73 percent of Democrats, 53 percent of women voters and minority voters, 73 percent of MSNBC viewers, 63 percent of NBC viewers, 57 percent of CNN viewers, 55 percent of CBS and Comedy Central viewers.

Baker was favored by 73 percent of registered Republicans and 58 percent of Fox News viewers.

Key issues for voters

In an open-ended issues question, likely voters said that they want candidates for governor talking about employment/jobs (23 percent), the economy (17 percent), education (14 percent), and taxes (13 percent).

Contested Democratic Primaries for Other Constitutional Offices

Voters remain undecided in Democratic primary races for three other constitutional offices:

  • For attorney general, Warren Tolman (25 percent) led Maura Healey (17 percent) and Harold Naughton (2 percent), with 56 percent undecided.
  • For state treasurer, Deborah Goldberg (18 percent) led Barry Finegold (9 percent) and Thomas Conroy (6 percent), with 66 percent undecided.
  • For lieutenant governor, all candidates were in single digits, including Stephen Kerrigan (6 percent), Leland Cheung (5 percent), Jonathan Edwards (4 percent), and Michael Lake and James Arena DeRosa (2 percent each), with 79 percent undecided.


Fifty-one percent of likely voters approve of plans to locate gambling casinos in Massachusetts, while 37 percent disapprove, and 12 percent were undecided. Among those who disapproved, 52 percent said that they were opposed to casino gambling in general, while 39 percent indicated that it’s OK in other states but not in Massachusetts.

“With ballot question opponents mobilizing, the 51 percent casino approval is fragile,” said Paleologos. “Most statewide referenda must survive growth in the ‘no’ side--from voters who flat-out disapprove along with those who are on the fence but decide that they want things to remain as they are. That 51 percent is not a solid number if ballot history is any judge.”

Child protection

With the state Department of Children and Families under fire after the disappearance of a 5-year-old boy whose family was being monitored by the department. Likely voters said they believe the department’s failures are systematic (71 percent) rather than due to a few bad employees (16 percent).

Minimum Wage

Nearly 77 percent of Massachusetts likely voters said they approve of a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour.


The statewide Suffolk University survey, using a split sample of landline and cell phone numbers, included a field of 600 voters who said they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the 2014 gubernatorial election. The survey was conducted from Jan. 29 – Feb. 3, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310 or by email.