Republican Charlie Baker
There's been a lot of uncertainty
about the state of play in Massachusetts. In the last week a MassInc poll showed Democrat Martha Coakley leading Republican Charlie Baker by 10 points, while surveys from SocialSphere and Rasmussen showed a very tight contest; a different MassInc poll of the 6th Congressional district also indicated that Baker could win statewide. On Monday two more polls were released, and both point to a tight race in November.
On behalf of the Boston Herald, Suffolk released their first general election poll and found Coakley leading Baker 44-43. They give Democrats realistic leads in other races, so it's unlikely they oversampled Republican voters. They give Coakley a 46-42 favorable rating, compared to Baker's 45-27 rating. What could end up helping Coakley is outgoing Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick's popularity: He's sitting on a solid 55-39 favorable rating.
Western New England University also surveys this contest, and they find Baker leading 44-43. They find similar numbers as Suffolk all around: Coakley posts a 46-38 favorable rating compared to Baker's 47-24. As we'd expect they found Democratic Sen. Ed Markey with a 20-point lead over his no-named Republican challenger so again, it doesn't look like this poll is unreasonably Republican-leaning.
Massachusetts is a very blue state, albeit one that isn't afraid to elect Republican governors, and we still expect Coakley to pull off a win here. Coakley appears to have improved as a candidate since her disastrous 2010 Senate race, and it's Baker who's been the one to put his foot in his mouth this time around. Still, right now it looks like Baker is making this a real race and can pull off a win. As a result, Daily Kos Elections is changing our race rating here from Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic.
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2:49 PM PT: A third new poll also shows a tight race. This one is from YouGov on behalf of UMass Amherst: They give Baker a 46-45 lead among likely voters, but have Coakley up 42-37 among registered voters.