Thursday, May 13, 2010
It's hard to believe, but all the political obituaries being written about Deval Patrick are looking increasingly premature. As can be seen in the latest Rasmussen poll:
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has gained ground over the past month and now earns 45% of the vote in his bid for reelection against Republican Charlie Baker and independent Tim Cahill. That’s a 10-point jump from a month ago and the Democratic incumbent’s best showing in surveys stretching back to June of last year.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds Baker with 31% support and Cahill earning just 14% in a three-way contest with Patrick. Ten percent (10%) remain undecided.
That Patrick is opening up a lead is quite a comeback for a Governor that was written off as doomed as little as three months ago. What happened? Here's my candidate by candidate analysis:
Deval Patrick - First Patrick has to face a primary challenge from crusading lefty Grace Ross for the Democrat nomination, but no one doubts that Patrick witll be the eventual nominee. Yet it is very unusual to see an incumbent Governor run a grassroots campaign as aggressively as Patrick is. He's everywhere, appearing in community centers, neighborhood gatherings and even living rooms with seemingly no political gathering too small for him to make an appearance. Patrick is relying on press the flesh retail politics to remind the electorate of why they liked him in the first place and apparently it's working - so far. Patrick's biggest liability remains his own record of failure, and his charming personality can't distract the voters from evaluating it forever.
Charles Baker - Now that the Republicans have nominated the man they perceive as the second coming of William Weld, they are discovering that his virtues also brings with them certain weaknesses. Baker's moderate positions, considered so ideal in attracting non-partisan voters, has the unintended side-effect of leaving his party activists uninspired. He desperately needs an issue to excite the base. His strengths have been his electability and the fact that he is not Deval Patrick, but is that going to be enough to carry Baker over the finish line?
Tim Cahill - The tons of money Republicans have been pouring into undermining Cahill's third party campaign in the past month has proven effective. Cahill, who once had 25% in the polls, has seen his support slashed by almost half. The brief surge Cahill got from making himself the primary critic of Massachusetts' failed universal healthcare law has been diluted by TV ads reminding voters of how silent he was back in the days when he was a Democrat. Cahill has to make a comeback fast or risk quickly fading into irrelevancy. He has at least one ace still up his sleeve - Cahill has got a lot of money he is holding in reserve for use when he thinks it will count most.
Jill Stein - Running as the ultra-liberal alternative, at this point Stein is being dismissed as a spoiler who might siphon off enough liberals to insure the defeat of Deval Patrick. Therefore the sizable lefty constituency that might otherwise rally behind her is ignoring Stein for as long as Patrick still has a chance. However if Patrick should falter again, frustrated lefties may give her candidacy a second look.
My friend Jack Bresnahanwent to see Peter Wolf of J. Geils fame in Northampton the other night. He even got to pose for a picture with him.
A nurse on a fading mural in Chicopee that I photographed through a bus window.
Purple bloomers in a Northampton yard.
Orange outside another Hamp home.
My kind of people.