In the final statewide Suffolk University/7News Poll of Massachusetts likely voters before the Nov. 2 election, Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick (46 percent) leads Republican Charlie Baker (39 percent) by 7 points in the race for governor, with only 5 days until the election. Independent candidate Tim Cahill has 9 percent, while Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein has just 2 percent. Only 5 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

“There have been shifts under the surface even though Deval Patrick continues to lead,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Since our last poll, Baker gained ground among younger voters but lost some among middle-age voters; Baker improved in Suffolk County but lost some of his lead in southeastern Mass; and Baker gained further among men, but lost further among women.”

Baker’s decision to publicly endorse embattled Republican nominee Jeff Perry may account for the drop in support from both women and southeastern Mass. since the last Suffolk poll.

Despite lagging far behind in the polls, Independent Tim Cahill is on track to break the record for the most votes cast for an Independent candidate for governor in Massachusetts, which was set by Christy Mihos in the 2006 gubernatorial contest with 7 percent of the vote.

Cahill is favored as second choice more than any other candidate. When asked if it were apparent their first choice candidate could not win, for whom would they vote, 37 percent of likely voters said Cahill. Twelve percent said Republican Baker and Green-Rainbow candidate Stein, and lastly 10 percent of voters said they would vote for Democrat Patrick as an alternative to their first choice.

When asked if they approved or disapproved of the job the governor is doing, 44 percent of likely voters said they approved, 44 percent say they disapproved, and 12 percent remain undecided. However, when asked if Deval Patrick deserved to be re-elected or if it is time to give someone else a chance, 49 percent of likely voters said give someone else a chance, 43 percent said he deserved re-election, and 8 percent remain undecided.

When asked if President Barack Obama’s recent visit to the Bay State had an impact on the race, 60 percent of likely voters said no – it made no difference, while 20 percent said yes -- it helped Patrick, and 4 percent said yes – it helped Baker (15 percent were undecided). This is despite a 51 percent favorable – 38 percent unfavorable rating for Obama.

Thirty-seven percent of voters thought that Deval Patrick has run the best campaign this season. Cahill, Stein, and those who are undecided all tied at 25 percent on the question of who has run the worst campaign. Republican Charlie Baker scored 22 percent best campaign – 19 percent worst campaign.

When asked who has the best temperament to be governor, 46 percent said Deval Patrick, 22 percent said Charlie Baker, 7 percent said Tim Cahill, 3 percent said Jill Stein, and 22 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

Finally, regardless of personal support for one candidate over another, 59 percent said they believe current Gov. Deval Patrick would be elected once all the votes are counted, 25 percent say Republican Charlie Baker, 3 percent say Independent Tim Cahill, and 12 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

In other races for statewide office, the races for state treasurer and state auditor have tightened and are too close to call. Democrat Steven Grossman (39 percent) leads Republican Karen Polito (36 percent) for treasurer. Democrat Suzanne Bump (28 percent) leads opponents Republican Mary Z. Connaughton (26 percent) and Green-Rainbow Nathanael Fortune (5 percent) in the race for auditor. Current Attorney General Martha Coakely beats Republican opponent Jim McKenna 57 percent to 31 percent. Incumbent Secretary of State Bill Galvin leads with 49 percent over opponents Republican Bill Campbell (18 percent) and unenrolled Jim Henderson (5 percent).

Current ballot questions in Massachusetts that were polled include a question on reducing the state sales tax from six and a quarter percent to three percent. From the Suffolk University survey of Oct. 12 -14, the margin has widened from 5 to 12 points with 51 percent of likely voters now opposing cutting the sales tax and 39 percent supporting a sales tax cut. (9 percent remain undecided).

Another ballot question polled concerns the elimination of added sales tax on alcohol. Forty-four percent of likely voters say they support this elimination, 47 percent say they oppose this elimination, and 9 percent remain undecided. However, when asked if they would be more or less likely to support the current sales tax on alcohol if the revenues were earmarked for alcohol and substance abuse programs rather than for the general fund, 41 percent of likely voters said they would be more likely to support the sales tax, and 20 percent of likely voters said they would be less likely to support the sales tax.

The statewide survey of 500 Massachusetts likely voters was conducted Oct. 25-27, 2010 using live telephone interviews. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data will be posted Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010 at 11 p.m. on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site: For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310,