RGA’s Negative Ads Work – But do they Benefit Patrick more than Baker?

From Rasmussen’s poll analysis:

“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.

Baker’s support ran as high as 39% against Patrick in a two-way match-up, prior to Democrat-turned-independent candidate Cahill’s entry into the race in October. Since then, Baker has never attracted more than 34% of the vote.

Cahill is the current state treasurer and was elected as a Democrat but quit the party last summer. Prior to slipping this month, he had earned from 19% to 25% of the vote in previous surveys.”

It looks like the RGA’s negative campaign ads are working. Support for Cahill is down sharply and his negatives are up. I don’t know how they are going to spin this. They certainly don’t have the story of being #2 in the polls any more.

What is interesting here is that while Cahill’s numbers are down it’s Patrick who is benefiting from this rather than Baker.

Cahill has been complaining loudly about how wrong it is for the RGA to try to rip him down with negative ads. But it was Cahill who came out with the first negative ads in the Governor’s race back on March 29th. We will be watching today how they spin the drop in the polls and how they talk about the effect of the RGA’s negative ads.

Update: Poll Analysis from pollster Jack Gately

Do we see a decrease in number of voters who don’t have an opinion on Baker?

Yes, but it is still at 24%, same for Cahill, only 1% of voters have no opinion of Patrick.
I see a massive drop off for Cahill, small gains for Patrick, and Baker staying about even.

Fav/Unfav Among Conservatives

Cahill Baker
Very Favorable 7 30
Somewhat Favorable 30 39
Somewhat Unfavorable 27 12
Very Unfavorable 21 2
Not Sure 7 17

Do you think the decrease in support for Cahill has anything to do with the huge RGA negative campaign about him?

A few things hurt Cahill. First, the healthcare reform issue, which he latched onto just prior to the last poll, has faded and there appears nothing on the horizon that has the high level of interest that healthcare had. Second, conservatives are not flocking to Cahill, even though he had a very conservative position on healthcare. Here are the fav/unfav on Cahill and Baker amongst Conservatives. Cahill has no where to go now, any move to center or left will look even more political and opportunistic.

Is Patrick benefiting from Cahill supporters converting to Patrick faster then to Baker?

Just like Cahill looked better in April due to his massive expose on the healthcare issue, Patrick is experiencing a boost due to his able handling of the MWRA water main break – in what could have been a Dukakis Blizzard of ’78 moment – he solved the high profile issue quickly, with solid management from Fred Lasky.

That also could be fleeting.

The race has been Baker-Cahill centric till now, that will change immediately as the triangle shifts to Baker-Patrick.

What to look for:

  • Cahill RGA ads to come down soon, even though they recently launched second wave.
  • RGA ads focused on Patrick with Patrick Report website, just like on Cahill.
  • Can Baker find an issue with sizzle to boost his numbers like both Patrick and Cahill has this year?  He tried to latch onto the Perry Amendment on immigration (grand slam for Perry).  Baker needs a “free” media home run of his own.
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