Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick opened up a seven-point lead over his Republican rival Charles Baker, while Indepednent Tim Cahill remained mired in a distant third place, according to, according to a new poll, that showed Patrick with more breathing room over Baker than other recent polls.
Patrick, the incumbent Democrat, captured 46 percent of vote compared to Baker's 39 percent, according a Suffolk University/7News poll released Wednesday night, which also showed Cahill trailing with 10 percent of the vote and Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein capturing 1 percent. The poll of 500 registered voters, conducted from Sunday through Tuesday, included a 4.4 percent margin of error, according to reports.
Four percent of voters indicated that they were still undecided.
"Deval Patrick is right on the goal line. He hasn't crossed the goal line. He could fumble. But he's in a very good position two-and-a-half weeks out," Suffolk pollster David Paleologos said during a taped television broadcast.
The Suffolk poll was the first since Cahill rocked the political landscape by filing a lawsuit alleging Republicans orchestrated backroom deals to undermine his campaign. and Paleologos said Patrick may have been the beneficiary of the fracas. Eighty percent of those polled said they were aware of the Cahill lawsuit.
"Many in that group said it didn't matter, but of those where it did matter it hurt Cahill and Baker and that's a net plus for Patrick," Paleologos said.
The poll revealed that more voters view Baker unfavorably than favorably. Asked who has the best temperament to be governor, Patrick beat Baker 44 to 20 percent.
Patrick's message also appears to be resonating more strongly with voters than Baker's. According to the poll, 48 percent of voters said it was most important to maintain state services compared with 44 percent who said cutting state spending was most important.
In the last poll conducted by Suffolk University in late September, Patrick led Baker with 41 percent to the Republican's 34 percent. Cahill trailed in third with 14 percent, while Stein captured 4 percent of the vote. Six percent of the electorate was undecided.