Poll: Candidate Kerry Shows Potential Weakness

If John Kerry were to face a strong candidate in running for re-election this fall, he might be vulnerable, as 51 percent of general election voters polled by 7NEWS/Suffolk University said it's time to give someone else a chance, while 38 percent said the senator deserves to be reelected. Nine percent were undecided, and 2 percent refused a response in the poll released today.

 "This number signals to us a potential weakness; if the right candidate came along, John Kerry would be vulnerable," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University. "The hook is that no credible candidate has challenged Kerry to date, and it all comes down to the choices on the actual ballot."

 Still, Kerry's weakness could be seen in several key areas: 56 percent of independents -- the largest voting block by far in Massachusetts -- said it was time to give someone else a chance. This sentiment was shared by 55 percent of voters over age 55; 60 percent of those living in Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire and Franklin counties; and 61 percent of voters in Bristol, Plymouth, Norfolk, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket counties.

 An April 2007 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll showed that only 37 percent of Massachusetts likely voters believed Kerry deserved to be reelected, while 56 percent said it was time to give someone else a chance.

 Governor Deval Patrick didn't fare much better: 39 percent of respondents said that Patrick deserved a second term, while 41 percent said it was time to give someone else a chance, and 20 percent were undecided. Patrick was weaker among men, independents, and the Southeastern Massachusetts/Cape Cod region.

 Respondents also projected -- 47 percent to 20 percent -- that if Democratic nominee Barack Obama wins in November, Patrick will leave Massachusetts to join his administration in Washington D.C.

 "It appears that voters believe Governor Patrick has other irons in the fire," said Paleologos. "Certainly, if the opportunity presents itself -- and respondents feel that it is quite possible -- Patrick could make another career move come November."

 When respondents were asked, despite their personal preferences, who would be the next president, 55 percent said Barack Obama; 29 percent said John McCain; and 14 percent were undecided.

The 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll was conducted Sunday, June 8, 2008, through Tuesday, June 10, 2008. The margin of error on the study of 500 is +/- 4.40 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. All respondents from the statewide survey were General Election voters in Massachusetts. Marginals and 130 pages of cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.