weekly poll

Coakley holds strong lead over Grossman in poll

Martha Coakley met supporters at a  union rally.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Martha Coakley met supporters at a union rally.

Martha Coakley holds a commanding 35-point lead in the five-way race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and has broadened her edge in a potential general election match up with Republican Charlie Baker, according to a new Boston Globe poll.

Coakley, the attorney general, holds a 49 percent to 14 percent lead over Steve Grossman, the state treasurer, while the other three Democratic candidates remain mired in the low single digits.

The results confirm what other public polls have shown: that Coakley remains by the far the most popular candidate among likely Democratic voters, even though party insiders say the activist base appears poised to endorse Grossman at this weekend’s convention in Worcester.


“Although the delegates in Worcester may disagree, Democrats who tell us they are likely to vote in September hold very strong and very favorable views of Martha Coakley,” saidJohn Della Volpe, the chief executive of SocialSphere Inc., which conducted the poll.

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The survey was the second of more than 20 polls that the Globe plans to conduct of likely Massachusetts voters before Election Day.

The results indicated a notable shift in Coakley’s lead over Baker in a hypothetical general-election matchup. She moved from a 5-point edge last week — 37 percent to 32 percent — to an 11-point lead this week, 42 percent to 31 percent.

Her gain came even as the other four Democrats running for governor continued to lag behind Baker in hypothetical November contests, with those margins virtually unchanged from last week.

The live landline and cellphone survey of 697 likely voters in Massachusetts was conducted in two waves, from June 1 to 3, and June 8 to 10, and included 442 likely voters in the Democratic primary. The overall margin of error was plus or minus 3.7 percentage points and 4.7 percentage points for the Democratic primary.


The poll indicated that 30 percent of voters have not decided whom to support for governor in Democratic primary, suggesting there is a chance that Grossman or another hopeful could begin to threaten Coakley’s dominant position. “The electorate is far from settled,” Della Volpe said.

However, Coakley appears to be more well liked than Grossman among likely Democratic voters.

About 71 percent of Democratic voters say they had a favorable opinion of her, compared with 22 percent who said they view her unfavorably. Grossman is viewed favorably by37 percent of Democratic voters, while 10 percent said they viewed him unfavorably. An even larger group, 53 percent, say they either recognize his name, but don’t have an opinion, or do not know who he is.

Poll respondent Bill Skocpol, a 67-year-old Cambridge Democrat, said his mind wasn’t absolutely made up, but he would probably vote for Coakley in September.

“She’s got the name recognition and I think she’ll do well against Charlie Baker, and I’m not so sure that Steve Grossman would,” he said, adding that he thought Coakley would bring “effectiveness” to both the gubernatorial race and governor’s office.


Beyond Coakley and Grossman, the other three candidates seeking the governor’s office are struggling for attention, with most likely Democratic voters appearing to not know enough about them to form strong opinions.

Donald Berwick, a former federal health care official, and Juliette Kayyem, a former state and federal homeland security official, are both tied at 3 percent in the poll, while Joseph Avellone, a biopharmaceutical executive, is at 2 percent. Party observers have warned that at least one of those three candidates may not win enough support at the convention to qualify for the September ballot.

No candidate has emerged as a clear frontrunner in the Democratic primary races for other statewide offices, indicating these down-ballot contests could be fiercely competitive fights as the campaign season marches on.

Maura Healey, a former top Coakley aide making her first run for elected office, is essentially tied with former state senator Warren Tolman in the primary race to succeed Coakley as attorney general. The poll shows Healey at 22 percent and Tolman at 20 percent, with 58 percent undecided.

In the battle to replace Grossman as treasurer, the candidates are also closely clustered. State Senator Barry Finegold and Deb Goldberg, a former Brookline selectwoman, are essentially tied, though Finegold holds a slight edge, 12 percent to 11 percent. State Representative Thomas Conroy is at 8 percent with 69 percent of voters undecided.

The four Democrats running for lieutenant governor have not made any substantial inroads with primary voters, according to the poll.

Steve Kerrigan, a onetime aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and Leland Cheung, a Cambridge City Councilor, are at 5 percent each, and Mike Lake, who runs an organization that promotes cities, and James Arena-DeRosa, a former Peace Corps official, are both at 3 percent. The vast majority of voters, 85 percent, said they do not know whom they will support for lieutenant governor.



Full results (general election voters)

Full results (Democratic primary voters)

Joshua Miller of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.