Poll: Giuliani leads Romney in Massachusetts

With the March 4, 2008 Massachusetts Primary election less than a year away, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has opened up a 12% lead over former Governor Mitt Romney (33%-21%) among likely Republicans and Independents who lean Republican, according to a 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll released today. Republican Senator John McCain polled third (18%), with 12% undecided.

“This poll suggests that Romney’s decline is due to a movement among Independents from McCain to Giuliani,” said David Paleologos, Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Romney trailed both Giuliani and McCain among Republicans, but was trounced by Giuliani among Independents who vote Republican. This speaks to the broad appeal of Giuliani to place first over a favorite son Governor whose unpopularity rose among Independents over the past year.” 

On the Democratic side, Senator Hillary Clinton (32%) easily bested former Senator John Edwards (19%), Sen. Barack Obama (18%), and former Vice President Al Gore (13%), with 12% undecided. 

Senator John Kerry, who recently left the door open to a Presidential bid in 2008, could have problems staying in the US Senate. When voters were asked whether Kerry should run for another six-year term in 2008 or if it is time to give someone else a chance, just 37% indicated that he should seek re-election while 56% said that it was time to give someone else a chance. Among political parties: 76% of Republicans, 62% of Independents, and 39% of registered Democrats said that it was time to give someone else a chance. 

“This poll is showing us the early warning signs of a political storm for John Kerry,” said Paleologos. “He may best be served by coming home to Massachusetts and taking care of business.” 

After 100 days of service to the Commonwealth, Governor Deval Patrick remains personally popular and is considered the most powerful person on Beacon Hill, though few give him high grades. When asked to name the most powerful person on Beacon Hill, 40% said “Governor Deval Patrick.” In addition, Patrick scored a 53% favorable and 25% unfavorable rating after 100 days in office, slightly lower than the 60% favorable and 29% unfavorable rating he recorded on election day in November, 2006. In a re-run of the General Election, Patrick topped former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey by 19%, just three percent less than his landslide win last November. 

Overall, voters gave Patrick an “M” for mediocre. Just 12% graded Patrick’s performance as “above average,” while 48% said “average” and 33% said “below average.”

The early missteps of the Patrick Administration left voters perfectly divided: 48% said that Patrick had made more mistakes than they expected while 48% said that he had not. 

In other poll findings, the majority of voters continue to believe that Massachusetts is on the wrong track, although improving slightly. When asked, do you think Massachusetts is heading in the right direction or is on the wrong track, 44% indicated wrong track while 37% said right direction. This is slightly better than the 52% wrong track and 31% right direction recorded on election day 2006. 

The most popular political figures in the statewide poll were Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who had a 58% favorable and 19% unfavorable rating; and Attorney General Martha Coakley, who had a 58% favorable and 11% unfavorable rating.

The Suffolk University statewide poll was conducted April 12 through April 15. The margin of error (moe) is +/- 4.90% at a 95% level of confidence. All 400 Massachusetts likely voters indicated they were registered voters. The Democratic subsample of 220 carries a moe of +/-6.61% and the Republican subsample of 100 carries a moe of +/- 9.80%. 

Suffolk University is scheduled to release 252 pages of cross-tabulation data, marginals, and charts on its website Wednesday, April 18.