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Maura Healey holds commanding lead in Democratic gubernatorial race, new poll shows

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey got a laugh at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast earlier this year.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey is leading her Democratic primary opponent state Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz by 45 percentage points, according to a new UMass Lowell survey of likely primary voters.

The statewide survey, conducted online earlier this month by polling organization YouGov and the Center for Public Opinion at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, found that among 800 likely primary voters, Healey leads Chang-Díaz 62 percent to 17 percent.

Another 20 percent of respondents said they are either undecided or plan to vote for another candidate.

“Healey starts out the nomination contest for Democrats as a prohibitive favorite,“ Joshua J. Dyck, director of the Center for Public Opinion at UMass Lowell, said in a statement announcing the poll results. “She is well-known, she is popular, and she is seen as someone who can both win and lead.”

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Healey is also the Democrat most likely to win the general election, according to 62 percent of respondents. The poll, which was conducted between April 2 and 11, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Healey performed better than Chang-Díaz among every gender, age group, income bracket, education level, and political ideology.

When they were asked asked which candidate is best suited to handle a wide range of issues, Healey was seen by likely voters as the stronger candidate on the economy, police reform, and health care. Chang-Díaz led Healey on one issue — who is best suited to handle race relations.

“Chang-Díaz has ground to make up, both in terms of name recognition and in convincing voters she is the superior candidate when there is already a formidable front-runner, but there are positives here for her as well,” Dyck said in a statement.

The poll also asked voters about some other statewide races, and found that among likely primary voters, former Boston city councilor Andrea Campbell leads the race for attorney general by a 19-point margin, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll leads the crowded race for lieutenant governor by 12 percentage points, and transportation advocate Chris Dempsey leads the race for auditor by 2 percentage points, within the margin of error in his contest with state Senator Diana DiZoglio.

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That said, candidates beyond the governor’s race are not yet known quantities to likely voters, the UMass Lowell pollsters say.

“Outside of the gubernatorial primary, the nomination contests for statewide office are anybody’s game,” John Cluverius, associate director of the Center for Public Opinion at UMass Lowell, said in a statement. “That’s what the campaign is for: getting voters to know you and winning them over.”


Samantha J. Gross can be reached at samantha.gross@globe.com. Follow her @samanthajgross.