The Hiller Instinct: Suffolk Poll
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After nearly four years in office, voters have mixed views of Patrick. Of all the candidates, they say he'll do the best job improving the economy - and creating jobs - though he's also the most likely to raise taxes. But while 52% say he does not deserve re-election, head to head in our exclusive 7NEWS Suffolk University poll, it's Patrick, with 41%; Baker, 34; Tim Cahill, 14%; Jill Stein, 4%, and undecided, 6%.
Go inside the poll numbers, and you'll see where Patrick's lead could crumble. Right now, Patrick is riding a gender gap to the top - he's up on Baker by 12 points among women, but by just two among men.
"Charlie Baker needs to focus on women in order to win, especially older women, where he trails by 19 percent," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. "He can't go to the polls in November with that kind of deficit."
More problematic for Patrick: among voters who know him and Baker, Baker is ahead 39% to 38%, suggesting a very close election.
"By November, people will know both candidates," Paleologos said. "This tells us that Charlie Baker has a shot to win."
Our poll also cuts some slack for Tim Cahill by showing he's not the spoiler in this race, who guarantees a Deval Patrick victory. If Cahill weren't running, Baker would get 45% of his votes, but Patrick would get 34% and would still be ahead.
"The problem for Charlie Baker isn't Tim Cahill," Paleologos said. "The problem is Charlie Baker. He's got to introduce himself and define himself."
All of which raises the stakes for the first major televised debate of the campaign Tuesday night. Our poll says 65% of registered voters will watch it - and that's a big enough audience to make our next poll very different from this one.
I'm Andy Hiller, 7NEWS.
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