MassINC’s post-election poll (PDF) seems to have put the nail in the coffin of the tired idea (still pushed by Howie Carr & Co.) that Charlie Baker would be Governor-elect today, if it weren’t for that blasted Tim Cahill.
The numbers say different. MassINC asked voters if they had ever intended to vote for someone else. Of those who said they once intended to vote for Cahill, only 54% ended up with Charlie Baker. Almost all the rest (45%) went to Patrick. That certainly suggests that Cahill’s appeal was not limited to folks who wanted Deval out of office.
Also of interest is that almost equal numbers of Coakley and Scott Brown voters ended up supporting Cahill. That, too, suggests that Cahill’s absence in the race would not have uniformly boosted Baker at Patrick’s expense.
The caveat is that since not all that many people voted for Cahill, or even considered doing so, the sample sizes we’re dealing with on these questions are quite small. Still, this is still more solid evidence that Cahill was drawing voters from both Patrick and Baker, and that his absence from the race might not have affected the final margin very much. Suffolk, the big winner in this year’s polling sweepstakes, in its final poll (see p. 95 of the big PDF) showed the second choice of Cahill voters nearly evenly divided between Patrick and Baker.
Of course, Cahill’s absence would have avoided Loscocco-gate. So there’s that. 🙂