Kerry Healey, Deval Patrick, Mass GOP
Healey's Now The Patron Saint Of Underdogs
In any other election contest, if I were to tell you that a candidate down in the polls by 25 points just eight days out had a decent chance of winning, you'd think I was nuts, right?
So why is it that I still think GOP Lt Gov Kerry Healey has at least a small chance of being elected governor of Massachusetts next Tuesday?
--- First, the polls: it's not just the Bay State surveys that show Healey miles behind Democrat Deval Patrick, I simply don't trust the accuracy of any of them, even nationally, at this point.
Who answers their phone these days? Between caller ID, machine screening, unlisted numbers, mobile phones and the Internet, it's difficult to imagine how many attempts it must take to reach a credible sample. And even then, it's hard to know how well that's really been achieved, especially considering the wild swings we've seen from week to week in this contest.
--- There's a difference in this case between what a person might tell a pollster and how they will actually vote once in the booth. Massachusetts citizens have been conditioned to sound as "progressive" as possible when asked, but in more private settings are often as far from those positions as one can imagine.
--- Healey has been unfairly hurt by an association with Mitt Romney, who's been busy burning every bridge in Massachusetts in order to boost his image nationally, where the Bay State is about as popular as North Korea. Even if a bit late, Healey has been working overtime to compensate for this severe handicap.
Until now, this has been the real issue turning off voters, not her anti- Deval negative television ads that ran for several weeks. Since those have a historical pattern of working well for candidates, it's hard to believe that voters were really offended enough by Kerry's attacks on Patrick's crime and punishment record to move into the latter's camp.
--- It truly seems hard to fathom that Bay State voters are ready to abandon their longstanding habit of voting in Republican governors to watch over the Democrats on Beacon Hill. There has to be at least some unease at the idea of Dems having free reign. No Democrat has been elected governor of Massachusetts in 20 years. There's a comfort level in this that should give overconfident "progressives" pause.
--- Deval Patrick is a lackluster candidate. Sure, many have said the same thing about Kerry Healey, but Deval's support appears to be a mile wide and an inch deep.
He's incredibly vague on the issues, often uttering meaningless slogans and does little to inspire real loyalty. When you see him on television, it's hard to believe he's doing this well in the polls. As a result, it doesn't seem as though it would take much to erase his lead.
When voters do hear of his positions, past and present alike, they are shockingly extreme, even for Massachusetts. Deval's often compared to Senator Obama, but they actually seem to have very little in common on the issues. Patrick is considerably to the left of Mike Dukakis, John Kerry or even Ted Kennedy.
--- Healey's doing a lot more to let voters get to know her better, even if this should have occurred months ago. Yes, it's late in the game, but this week is also when voters are paying the most attention. This is the time to treble the television buys, especially with the kind of ads Kerry is running this week. She should remind them of her very moderate positions as well.
--- Independent sorehead Christy Mihos has revealed himself to be such an unhinged nutcase that it's hard to believe many people will waste votes on him. Polls showing him with five to nine percent support seem hard to fathom, compared with the almost total lack of support out on the streets. I'll bet he gets two percent on election day at most. As a result, he isn't nearly the threat to Healey as was once thought.
--- It's hard to attack a 25- point underdog without looking downright cruel. Even the rabidly- pro- Deval Globe will have to cool it a bit now. That paves the way for a last minute surge, fueled by heavy media spending this week.
If Kerry Healey pumps up the media spending this week to record levels, she still has a shot at this and even Deval knows it. It's up to her, if she backs off for even a moment, it will be all over for good.
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