By Jack Gately of jackgately.com
Healthcare policy and Governor Patrick’s poor poll numbers converged last week when Patrick released a seemingly full court offensive on the health care issue which included:
1) testimony in favor of price controls, directing his Insurance Commissioner to reject as “excessive premium increases”
2) an effort to pitch himself as the champion of small business against rising healthcare costs, a not so subtle effort to make his weakness a strength, highlighted by an internet advertisement to be released today and
3) an attack on his rivals, especially, presumptive Republican nominee Charlie Baker, as a former healthcare executive.
Why has Governor Patrick decided to go after Charlie Baker on the health care issue and why now?
And why was Patrick decidedly chippy in his comments last week before the press?
Governor, could it be really be about the polls and not the people?
Since last week also brought us the latest polling numbers from Rasmussen, including a 43%-55% fav/unfav spread for Patrick, which should be alarm enough for the Governor, but more telling is the number of voters who do not already have an opinion of him, at only 2%.
Maybe the voters have not forgotten that Patrick himself has been “MIA“, to use the Governor’s own words, in creating a positive business climate. Maybe they remember the taxes Governor Patrick raised which make or small businesses less competitive?
Baker, who trails Patrick by just three points in a horse that includes Tim Cahill, holds a robust 46%-26% fav/unfav spread with no opinion at 28%. 18% of voters, according to Rasmussen Reports, had no opinion of Cahill, who placed thirteen points behind Baker, in third place.
If Baker continues his fav/unfav spread as he introduces himself to voters, nearly a third of whom are still undecided about him, he will be certain to pass Governor Patrick in an upcoming poll and once an incumbent, any incumbent, is shown losing a three way race for re-election, fundraising will become exceedingly difficult and some Democrats will defect.
Facts notwithstanding about Baker’s solid record on healthcare pricing transparency, Patrick’s negatives leave him no where to go but than to dissuade those without an opinion of Baker.
But it could already be too late: the Rasmussen Reports cross tabs indicate a Baker 51%-20% fav/unfav rating among unenrolled voters, with 29% no opinion.
A Governor with a -12 fav/unfav spread is not likely to be able to swim against that tide, the attacks on Baker are a sign of a failing campaign.