Next week, Massachusetts’s voters have an important choice to make. On Tuesday September 9, voters will go to the polls to select the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor and other constitutional offices.
Seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination is former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Donald Berwick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Treasurer Steve Grossman. Coakley, who has consistently polled ahead of her competitors, is the presumed favorite. After losing to former
Senator Scott Brown in the 2010 special Senate election, Coakley is campaigning to earn the trust of Democratic primary voters once again.
Although Coakley boasted a lead of at least 20 points for months, a recent Boston Herald/Suffolk University poll showed Grossman closing the gap. The state’s Treasurer registered support among 30 percent of those polled in the most recent Suffolk University survey. The poll surveyed a group of 400 very likely Democratic voters.
Grossman, the Treasurer and Receiver-General of the Commonwealth, is also the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic Party. Berwick, who has been mired between five and 10 percent in various polls, is also the former President and CEO of the Center for Healthcare Improvement.
While Berwick has not registered with the majority of anticipated primary voters, he has consistently sought to differentiate himself as the most progressive of the three Democrats left in the race. One of his biggest campaign issues is his anti-casino stance, and he frequently invokes his goal of instituting “Medicare for all” in the form of a single payer healthcare system.
While Grossman may be narrowing Coakley’s margin of victory, a win for the Attorney General is still presumed to be likely. The predicted outcome on September 9 pits Coakley against the likely Republican nominee Charlie Baker in November.
Baker, the GOP’s failed gubernatorial nominee in 2010, holds a commanding lead in his primary fight. The same Herald/Suffolk poll positions Baker at 70 percent, with his opponent, businessman Mark Fisher, polling only at 11 percent. Baker is a former state cabinet secretary, having served in state government in the 1990s. Mark Fisher is the owner of a metal manufacturing company and a member of the Tea Party.
Since a Coakley versus Baker race is the most likely scenario, there has been an abundance of polling. While the majority of the releases give Coakley a lead, even if just by a few points, the race’s dynamics are changing. The most recent release from the Boston Globe showed Baker leading 38 percent to Coakley’s 37 percent, foreshadowing a potentially extremely close general election.
So far, Baker has separated himself from his extremely conservative opponent, selling himself as a “fiscal conservative, social moderate.” Baker supports abortion rights and marriage equality, and cites his gay brother in his support for same-sex marriage. He has worked to court the women’s vote as well, which is already a crucial component of Coakley’s base. Coakley meanwhile already boasts the endorsements of Emily’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood. Before they face each other, however, Coakley and Baker must get through their respective primaries. After next Tuesday, voters can expect a competitive and interesting election.