Baker remains ahead of Coakley
Charlie Baker maintains a 7 percentage point lead in the race for governor in the final Boston Globe poll before Tuesday’s election, suggesting that the Republican is in a strong position to win the election over Democratic rival Martha Coakley.
Forty-four percent of likely voters say they support Baker, a former health care executive and state Cabinet official, while 37 percent say they intend to cast their vote for Coakley, the sitting Massachusetts attorney general.
Eleven percent of the electorate remains undecided, according to the survey. The independent candidates in the race — Evan Falchuk, Scott Lively, and Jeff McCormick — together draw 7 percent of the vote.
“Unless there’s a dramatic change of events . . . this looks very solid for Baker,” said Globe pollster John Della Volpe.
The survey of 600 likely voters also suggests that high-profile ballot measures to expand the bottle bill and to ban the casino industry from the state are headed for defeats.
The poll of was conducted for the Globe from Oct. 26-29 by SocialSphere Inc. It included calls to landlines and cellphones. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The numbers show little change from last week’s Globe poll, in which Baker led Coakley by 9 points. Other public polls have suggested the race is closer.
With just days left in the campaign, Baker seems to have a stronger hold on several critical voting groups: men, independents, and self-described moderates. He also appears to have done a better job locking down votes from his own political party.
Nearly all Bay State Republicans — 91 percent — support Baker, who was also the party’s nominee for governor in 2010. Coakley, however, who lost a special election for the US Senate in 2010 to Republican Scott Brown, has earned the support of just 71 percent of Democrats, according to the Globe survey.
Baker is dominating among men, 50 percent to 32 percent, while Coakley’s lead among women voters is much narrower, 42 percent to 39 percent with 13 percent undecided, according to the poll.
Self-described moderates prefer Baker, 48 percent to 31 percent.
“When you take the long view,” said Della Volpe, “you can make a case that Charlie Baker has consistently moved in one direction” — up.
“The trajectory is just not as clear for Martha Coakley,” he said.
On the state ballot questions, business-financed campaigns to defeat an expansion of the bottle bill and to clear the way for casinos in Massachusetts have opened wide leads among likely voters ahead of the vote.
Massachusetts voters apparently do not want to pay a 5-cent deposit on a greater variety of bottles. Question 2, which would expand the state’s bottle bill to cover bottled water, sports drinks, and other beverages, appears headed for a landslide loss.
Sixty-six percent of voters say they plan to vote no on Question 2, while 28 percent say they support broadening the bottle bill.
Public opposition to Question 2 has been consistent across several polls, dating back to the start of a media campaign financed by beverage companies and food retailers. In the last Globe poll, conducted Oct. 19-22, Question 2 trailed 63 percent to 29 percent.
Voters could be saving their nickels for the slot machines: Question 3, which seeks to repeal the state’s 2011 expanded gambling law and ban the casinos industry from the state, continues to lose ground in public opinion.
Casino supporters, who had an advantage this summer of a consistent 9 or 10 points, have roughly doubled the spread.
Fifty-four percent of likely voters oppose Question 3, while just 36 percent plan to vote to overturn the casino law, according to the survey. Ten percent are unsure.
The turn against Question 3 has come in the midst of a multimillion dollar TV ad blitz paid for mostly by the casino companies with a stake in the Massachusetts market: MGM Resorts, Penn National Gaming, and Wynn Resorts.
Both sides of the casino debate have expressed concern about the counter-intuitive wording of the question: Voters who want casinos should vote no. Casino opponents intent on blocking the industry from Massachusetts should vote yes.
Question 4, which would permit workers in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time under certain conditions, appears in strong position to be approved.
Fifty-five percent of likely voters say they intend to vote in favor of the earned sick time provision, while 31 percent say they will vote no. Public opinion appears to be trending in favor of Question 4; supporters increased their lead by 6 points from the last Globe poll.
The one dogfight among the ballot referendum is Question 1, which would undo a law linking the state gas tax to inflation. Forty-five percent of voters plan to vote yes, according to the survey, while 42 percent say they will vote no.
The two sides were tied at 42 percent in the last Globe poll.
The statewide election is Tuesday.