President Obama's latest stop on the campaign trail will be in Boston Saturday where he'll stump for incumbent Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, a friend and political ally.
Patrick is facing off against Republican Charlie Baker, Independent Tim Cahill and Green-Rainbow party candidate Jill Stein and while other Democrats around the country may be distancing themselves from the president and his positions on the issues, Patrick is welcoming Mr. Obama with enthusiasm.
"I'm not other Democrats. I'm not running to be anything other than who I am and what I am and I am proud that this president is showing such extraordinary international leadership on issues that I think are critical for the country," said Patrick following a debate held at Emerson College in Boston Friday afternoon.
"There's a lot that we're doing here in the Commonwealth that is aligned from a positive perspective with the Obama administration. The emphasis on clean and alternative energy, on investing in education and infrastructure and that's been very, very beneficial to the people of the commonwealth and I want to keep that going and I think he does too," said Patrick.
The latest poll released by Suffolk University/7 News on Thursday shows that Mr. Obama has a 51% favorability rating in the Bay State. Nationally, the president has fared far worse. The latest Fox News survey taken October 11th-13th reveals that only 43% of registered voters nationwide approve of the job the president is doing.
"There aren't a lot of states that Barack Obama can go to and be helpful to Democrats in terms of getting out the vote but, Massachusetts is one of them," said Democratic strategist Mary Ann Marsh. "For Deval Patrick to win on November 2nd he needs all the base Democrats to turn out and Barack Obama, with base Democrats in Massachusetts, is very popular."
The Suffolk University/7 News survey also reveals Patrick holds a 7% lead over his Republican challenger. 46% of Massachusetts voters say Deval Patrick has their backing, 39% say their vote will go to Charlie Baker. Independent Tim Cahill is pulling in 10%. Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein got 1% , with 4% undecided. The survey was conducted October 10th-12th, with 500 likely voters in Massachusetts questioned by telephone.
The numbers are not swaying Republican Baker's view that voters are looking for change. He says the president's appearance in Boston is proof Patrick is nervous.
"He's worried about the fact that our message has been resonating with voters. Voters are interested in seeing state government get reformed. They're interested in seeing somebody who's got the private sector experience who'll get up there and cut spending," said Baker.
The Republican businessman needs independent voters- or what Massachusetts calls 'unenrolled' voters- to cast their ballots for him on election day in a state dominated by registered Democrats. Those critical independents helped seal the win for Republican Senator Scott Brown in January but in this race the Independent Cahill, though far behind in the polls, is expected to siphon off some of those votes on election day.
Cahill has more to worry about than trailing poll numbers- things like political betrayals, lawsuits and investigations. His running mate bailed on the campaign earlier this month and endorsed Baker. Cahill filed a lawsuit against former staffers accusing them of trying to sabotage his campaign. Most troubling of all, Cahill and aids are now under investigation for possibly plotting to ensure taxpayer funded ads touting the Massachusetts lottery, which Cahill oversees as state treasurer, were created and used to boost his chances of winning the governor's seat. Cahill insists there was no wrong doing on his part. He's cooperating with Attorney General Martha Coakley's inquiry and continues to defend the creation of the ads, arguing they were not created for personal political gain.
"People will discuss the timing for years to come but, it was the right decision because it was increasing sales and we will get back to it after the election because it's the right thing to do regardless of the politics of it," argued Cahill.
It's clear the Democratic Party is investing a lot of political capitol in the state. Former President Bill Clinton headlined a rally for incumbent Congressman Barney Frank in late September and now the current President's visit comes with just over two weeks to go in the critical final stretch where focus has turned to get out the vote efforts.
"Deval Patrick's at the top of the ticket so, as Deval Patrick goes and the turnout goes at the top of the ticket, that helps everybody else underneath," said Marsh. "Certainly, there's some competitive congressional races, some down ballot races- all of them will benefit. The more Democrats who turn out the more likely they are to get elected."