Political candidates are often reluctant to react very strongly to public opinion polls, often turning to the old adage that the only poll that counts is on election day.
That was not the case Thursday night after the release of a Boston Globe poll showing Republican Charlie Baker with a nine-point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley in the race to succeed Gov. Deval Patrick.
Within hours of the poll's release, Doug Rubin, the political advisor who helped Patrick win the governor's office in 2006 and is now working for Coakley, issued a statement saying the Globe poll was "clearly an outlier" and pointing to other polls taken recently that essentially showed the race to be a dead heat, including the Coakley campaign's polling this week in a WBUR poll on Wednesday that had Baker up on Coakley by one point.
"In addition, the Globe poll is the only public poll to show such intense volatility in the race for Governor, going from Baker up 3 three weeks ago to Coakley up 5 two weeks ago, to even last week and Baker up 9 this week. Every other public poll has shown a very stable campaign with very little movement over the past month," Rubin said in a statement.
"It’s been clear for a while that many insiders are trying to spin a story about the Baker campaign having momentum, and they no doubt will use the results of this outlier poll to continue to spin the media," he continued.
Baker's campaign had a statement ready moments after the Globe/SocialSphere poll results were released, showing Baker leading 45-36.
“This latest poll further evidences a clear trend of growing bipartisan support for Charlie Baker,” said Baker campaign manager Jim Conroy.
“Charlie’s honest and positive message of good jobs, great schools and an accountable, fiscally responsible state government is presenting a clear contrast with the Attorney General's campaign based on misleading negative attacks and plans to increase taxes,” Conroy added.
Coakley plans to join Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. senator and secretary of state and potential 2016 candidate for president, for a campaign rally in Boston Friday.
As for the Globe poll, SocialSphere pollster John Della Volpe told the newspaper, “There is just positive movement in every single metric we can ask around Baker."
The phone survey of 500 likely Massachusetts voters was conducted between Oct. 19 and Oct. 22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.