By Naa Dedei Coleman
BU News Service
Massachusetts Democratic candidate for governor Jay Gonzalez has a lot of ground to cover if he wants to win the election on Nov. 6, according to pre-election polls. Republican candidate and current governor Charlie Baker is ahead in the polls and it is likely to retain his position for another four years.
Out of 791 Massachusetts registered voters polled by the University of Massachusetts and the Boston Globe, 65 percent were favourable to Charlie Baker, compared to Gonzalez’s 26 percent favorability. Of the 485 likely voters, 66 percent were for Baker, while 27 per cent leaned toward Gonzalez. This poll covered the Middlesex, Suffolk, Essex, West, Cape and East regions. In all of the polls, Baker won, receiving a higher favorability than Gonzalez.
“It would be very difficult at this point. It would require a fairly monumental polling error for Jay Gonzalez to win,” said Nathaniel Rakish, an election analyst for political aggregation site FiveThirtyEight.
Baker is a well-liked governor and that might be the toughest part about running against him.
Another factor that could work against Gonzalez is that many voters do not know his name. Talia Quaadgras, a Northeastern University student who identifies herself as a Democrat, was unable to recognize the name of the Democratic Party candidate for governor.
Gonzalez’s campaign has not had as much momentum as his opponent’s. His first TV ad was released on Oct. 22, less than a month to the elections. His campaign has been getting its message out there by talking to people, either face to face or through the phone.
“From the beginning of this campaign, we’ve run a grassroots campaign that depends on ordinary people hearing our message and believing in Jay’s potential to win the votes of people across our state,” said a spokesperson for the Gonzalez campaign team. “We’ve built a campaign that relies on ordinary people going door to door, making phone calls and talking to their friends and neighbors to get our message out to voters.”
Gonzalez’s campaign funds are not as much as his opponents. Baker has raised more than double than his opponent, with over $3 million. Gonzalez’s campaign has only raised about $1.5 million.
Gonzalez and his lieutenant governor running mate, Quentin Palfrey, received $542,284 from the State Election Campaign Fund, according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF). The candidates are restrained by a spending limit, which in Gonzalez’s case is $20 million, an amount set by Baker, who opted out of the funding.
Gonzalez’s team is still optimistic about his chances. They are relying on the people rather than looking at what the polls are saying.
“As we talk to voters across the state, as we present to them our agenda of bold actions on the challenges holding regular families back, we’re earning their support,” said a spokesperson for the Gonzalez campaign. “As we’ve seen with insurgent candidates across the country this cycle, pundits and polls don’t decide elections. People do. At the end of the day, we’re confident we’re going to win this election.”