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Connolly leads Walsh by 8 points in new mayoral poll

Mayoral candidate John Connolly at a press conference at the State House.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff

Mayoral candidate John Connolly at a press conference at the State House.

City Councilor John R. Connolly leads State Representative Martin J. Walsh by eight percentage points in the race to succeed Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston, according to a newly released poll.

A UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion poll found Connolly taking 45 percent to Walsh’s 37 percent among 375 likely voters surveyed, including those who leaned towards one candidate or the other. Eighteen percent were undecided or unsure for whom they would vote.

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The poll was conducted from Oct. 2-7 and had a margin of error of plus or minus six percentage points.

UMass Lowell Associate Professor of Political Science Joshua Dyck , who oversaw the poll, emphasized in a telephone interview that about four in ten likely voters who had settled on a candidate weren’t firm in their choice.

“You still have a pretty big part of the electorate that could still change their minds,” he said.

Dyck said that among subsets of voters, “you’ve got leads for Connolly among a lot of categories here.” He noted the Councilor’s sixteen-point lead among women likely voters.

With all the discussion of new leadership for the city, most likely voters polled think Boston is on the right track.

A whopping 78 percent said Boston was headed in the right direction, while only 15 percent said the city was on the wrong track. But when asked about the United States a whole, 24 percent said the nation were generally headed in the right direction while 69 percent thought it was on the wrong track.

A separate poll released earlier this week found Walsh trailing Connolly by seven points.

That poll, conducted by Suffolk University for the Boston Herald, surveyed 600 likely Boston voters from Oct. 2-6 and had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Connolly and Walsh emerged from a twelve-person field of hopefuls in the September preliminary election. The final mayoral election is Nov. 5.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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