Baker gains, Patrick maintains edge in new poll

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, FEB. 26, 2010……Despite an unfavorable rating of 50 percent, Gov. Deval Patrick maintains his edge over a crowded gubernatorial field and holds a commanding lead over his new primary opponent, according to new poll results, which also show support for casinos and for two major tax cuts possibly headed for this year’s ballot.

According to the Suffolk University/7 News poll, which was conducted Feb. 21-24, Patrick registered support among 33 percent of the 500 registered voters surveyed, compared to 25 percent for Republican Charles Baker, 23 percent for unenrolled candidate and state Treasurer Tim Cahill, and 3 percent for Jill Stein, with 16 percent undecided.

In prospective primary contests, Baker leads Republican Christy Mihos 47-17 and Patrick holds a commanding lead over Grace Ross, 59-15. In the November poll, Baker trailed Mihos 33-30.

Baker showed the most progress in the poll, his 25 percent level of support comparing to 15 percent and a third place slotting in a November Suffolk/7 News poll, which had Patrick with 36 percent support.

The new poll pegged Patrick’s unfavorable rating at 50 percent, with 38 percent viewing him favorably and 60 percent saying it’s time to let someone else be governor.

The poll showed support for reducing the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent at 49-44 and backing for eliminating the new sales tax on alcohol at 54-39.

Casinos were favored 57-34, with 9 percent undecided.

Pollsters also took the pulse on the Tea Party, finding that 13 percent of Bay State voters would cast a ballot for a Tea Party candidate in a Congressional election in their district, while 21 percent would vote Republican and 45 percent would vote Democratic.