If you’re a Democrat in a statewide race in Massachusetts, you really almost have to try to lose. It can happen – and it has – but you seem to need a particular set of conditions. It takes either a remarkable GOP candidate, a crushing conservative national wave capable of washing up on the shores of Boston Harbor, or an amazingly inept Democrat. In the current battle for the governor’s mansion in the Bay State, the explanation may be fairly simple. The Republican candidate, Charlie Baker, seems like a fine man running a very competent campaign, but he probably isn’t Iron Man in a nice suit. The GOP has at least the possibility of realizing some admirable gains this November, but it still doesn’t feel anything like the wave that swept the nation in 2010.
And then you have Martha Coakley, who according to the most recent poll numbers, probably couldn’t be elected to carve the turkey at her own family dinner this Thanksgiving.
Republican Charlie Baker has opened up a 9-point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley, 45 percent to 36 percent, according to a new Globe poll that depicts a far more comfortable advantage than either candidate for governor has enjoyed in months.
The poll reflects an October surge in independent voters toward Baker’s column. It was independents who provided Governor Deval Patrick with his margins of victory in 2006 and 2010.
Baker’s standing has improved from last week’s poll, which showed the two candidates dead even. It can be attributed largely to the gains he has made in voters’ perceptions of who would improve the economy and manage state government, areas that already were tilting his way. At the same time, Baker has offset the deficits he faced on issues such as education and health care, where Coakley still holds an edge, but a diminished one.
Boston.com is being a tad less charitable, describing this slide as Coakley being clobbered by Baker. Some of this may simply be a case of all politics being local and the increased interest of voters as the election draws near and they are exposed to increased levels of advertisements and debates. A variety of issues have been tossed around, ranging from new deposits on bottles for recycling to lashing the gas tax to the cost of living index. People do seem to like Baker’s approach on these questions, but can that account for this rapid of a slide?
Or is Martha Coakley just one of the worst candidates in the country outside of Wendy Davis? Either way, if Republicans take this race and then somehow pull out a similar win in Oregon, the RGA is going to have a decidedly different look and feel next year.