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Connolly says internal polling shows mayor’s race tied

Mayoral hopeful John R. Connolly told his campaign finance committee Monday morning that internal polling shows the race is a dead heat with state Representative Martin J. Walsh.

Speaking to roughly 50 people in a conference room near TD Garden, Connolly said his campaign’s last three days of polling found a tie, with each candidate standing at 43 percent and with 14 percent of poll respondents remaining undecided.

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“It’s a statistical dead heat,” Connolly told the group as he clicked through slides on a PowerPoint presentation. “I feel good. We knew this was going to be tight, tighter than we wanted it to be.”

A Globe reporter was allowed to observe the internal meeting, which included presentations by Connolly’s campaign manager and get out the vote director. The team also said it had raised $700,000 in the last 12 days, putting the fund-raising haul in October at more than $1.3 million.

In a statement, the Walsh campaign said it had the support “of working men and women in every neighborhood of Boston.”

“As has recently been reported, John Connolly is getting tremendous political and financial support from Republicans, hedge fund managers, and outside groups like [Democrats for Education Reform] bankrolled by Wall Street financiers,” spokeswoman Kate Norton said in a statement. “Marty is going to win this race because people know he’s on the side of working class families.”

The group Democrats for Education Reform has spent $256,000 to promote Connolly with paid canvassers and television ads, according to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Outside groups funded by organized labor have spent $1.7 million on behalf of Walsh.

Walsh is a longtime labor leader and his fund-raising has been buoyed by large checks from unions across the country. State law limits annual campaign contributions from individuals to $500, but unions can donate up to $15,000. This year, the Walsh campaign has received direct contributions from labor totalling more than $530,000, which includes $464,000 in checks larger than $500.

Connolly’s polling data came from the campaign’s tracking poll, which contacts 200 people each day, Connolly said. In the last three days, Connolly said he came out on top twice, and Walsh was ahead once.

The findings differed significantly from a Globe poll last week that found Connolly leading by 8 percentage points. That poll, by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, found that 44 percent of likely voters responding to the poll said they backed Connolly, while 36 percent said they supported Walsh. Connolly described the Globe poll as an outlier and said his data were closer to an earlier survey by the MassINC Polling Group, which showed Connolly clinging to a small lead, at 41 percent to 39 percent.

“What is very clear is that no candidate has momentum,” Connolly told the group, but he added that Walsh “used three weeks of big name endorsements to really close the gap.”

Connolly said the Walsh camp combined the endorsements with a negative campaign by outside groups that mailed brochures critical of him and his family. The brochures sent by two groups affiliated with the AFL-CIO described Connolly as a son of privilege and included inaccurate information about the New York City mission school where he taught for two years in the 1990s. Walsh has accused Connolly of using a poll to propagate negative information about the state representative.

“We know the scary part is his [get out the vote] mode. He’s going to have union bodies flown in from around the country,” Connolly said. “We’re out in every corner of this city. I think we have got voters who are under the radar.”

Walsh’s campaign did not immediately respond when asked when union officials from around the country were coming to help during the final push.

Connolly’s campaign manager, Nathaniel Stinnett, urged the roughly 50 people on the campaign’s finance committee to curtail fund-raising and begin urging family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to vote for Connolly.

“This is a very, very close race,” Stinnett said. “But we feel like we are in a very good position to win.”

Andrew Ryan can be reached at acryan@globe.com Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.
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