Poll: Baker Up by 3 Points in Tight Governor’s Race

The race for Massachusetts governor is a statistical dead heat, with Republican Charlie Baker (46 percent) edging Democrat Martha Coakley (43 percent) by 3 points in a new Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll of very likely voters in next Tuesday’s statewide election.

United Independent Party candidate Evan Falchuk polled just under 3 percent, with Jeff McCormick at 2 percent, and Scott Lively at 1 percent. Six percent were undecided.

“Exactly a month ago, a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll showed a statistical dead heat with Martha Coakley leading by a point,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Here we go again. At this late stage, it could be a late night. And supporters of third-party candidates like Evan Falchuk and Jeffrey McCormick could be kingmakers if they make an Election Day decision to opt for Coakley or Baker.”

That scenario could work against Coakley, as 82 percent of Falchuk and McCormick voters had an unfavorable opinion of Coakley. And Falchuk supporters are scrambling to earn 3 percent of the statewide vote to automatically make the United Independent party an official party in Massachusetts.

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 44 percent, compared to Baker’s 26 percent.

A majority of voters—52 percent—said that Coakley has done an excellent or good job as attorney general, while 28 percent said her performance was fair, and 16 percent poor. Sixty-four percent of those polled would expect her to raise taxes.

Forty-nine percent said they trust Baker to stand up for women’s rights and the handling of issues important to women.

Casinos & other ballot questions

The survey showed support for retaining the casino laws that now exist, with 59 percent saying they would vote no on the ballot question that would prohibit casinos, 34 percent yes, and 7 percent undecided.

Forty-eight percent of 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 43 percent opposed and 9 percent undecided.

They did not support expanding the Bottle Bill to require deposits on most beverage containers: 65 percent said they would keep the deposit law as is; 29 percent favored expansion; and 5 percent were undecided.

Fifty 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 14 percent were undecided. This sharply contrasts with a straightforward question: “Do you think the Mass. gas tax increases should automatically be tied to the Consumer Price Index,” which 63 percent opposed.

“The wording of the gas tax question obviously has voters confused, given that a large majority say they oppose automatic increases tied to the Consumer Price Index, and yet half say they’ll vote to retain that link,” said Paleologos.

Statewide offices

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

  • U.S. Senate: Democrat Ed Markey, incumbent, 49 percent, Republican Brian Herr, 34 percent
  • Attorney general: Democrat Maura Healey, 45 percent, Republican John Miller, 24 percent
  • Secretary of state: Democrat William Galvin, incumbent, 54 percent, Republican David D'Arcangelo, 15 percent, Green/Rainbow Party candidate Daniel Factor, 3 percent
  • Treasurer: Democrat Deborah Goldberg, 39 percent, Republican Michael James Heffernan, 26 percent, Green/Rainbow candidate Ian Jackson, 4 percent
  • State auditor: Democrat Suzanne Bump, incumbent, 33 percent, Republican Patricia Saint Aubin, 23 percent, Green/Rainbow candidate MK Merelice, 4 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 Monday, Oct. 27, through Wed., Oct. 29. 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 Thursday, Oct. 30. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.