Outsider act of Warren, Patrick hard to follow

Comparisons weak and getting weaker

To outsiders looking to make a splash in Massachusetts politics, Deval Patrick and Elizabeth Warren are guiding lights. Each ascended as political novices from relative unknown to statewide officeholders, winning in their first run for office. Observers of (and candidates in) the current gubernatorial contest have pointed to their examples to explore whether other newcomers have a potential path to victory. But the polling suggests that comparisons between Patrick and Warren and the current crop of gubernatorial hopefuls is weak and getting weaker. If any of the three lesser-known candidates for governor win in November, they will have blazed a new trail rather than followed either Warren or Patrick’s path.

By this point in their first election cycles, 35 percent had formed an opinion (favorable or unfavorable) of Deval Patrick, and 63 percent had made up their minds about Elizabeth Warren. Warren had cleared the field of a number of possible challengers, and was on her way to locking up 96 percent of the convention vote in June. Patrick had just taken a lead in the Democratic Primary polls over Tom Reilly, a lead which he would soon make permanent. Compare this to the three longer-shot Democrats this year — Juliette Kayyem, Don Berwick and Joe Avellone — each of whom is struggling to break out of the single digits in name recognition, and each of whom pulls between 1 and 4 points in polls of Democratic Primary voters.

Meet the Author

Steve Koczela

President, MassINC Polling Group

About Steve Koczela

Steve Koczela is the President of The MassINC Polling Group, where he has grown the organization from its infancy to a nationally known and respected polling provider. During the 2014 election cycle, MPG conducted election polling for WBUR, the continuation of a three-year partnership. Koczela again led the endeavor, producing polls which came within one point of the margin in both the Massachusetts gubernatorial and U.S. Senate Elections. He was also lead writer for Poll Vault, WBUR’s political reporting section during the 2014 Election Cycle.

He has led survey research programs for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq, in key states for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and has conducted surveys and polls on behalf of many private corporations. Koczela brings a deep understanding of the foundations of public opinion and a wide ranging methodological expertise. He earned U.S. Department of State recognition for his leading edge work on sample evaluation in post conflict areas using geospatial systems.

Koczela is frequent guest on WBUR as well as many other news and talk programs in Massachusetts and elsewhere. His polling analysis is often cited in local, state, and national media outlets. He currently serves as President of the New England Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (NEAAPOR). Koczela holds a Master’s degree in Marketing Research from the University of Wisconsin and is a veteran of the war in Iraq.

About Steve Koczela

Steve Koczela is the President of The MassINC Polling Group, where he has grown the organization from its infancy to a nationally known and respected polling provider. During the 2014 election cycle, MPG conducted election polling for WBUR, the continuation of a three-year partnership. Koczela again led the endeavor, producing polls which came within one point of the margin in both the Massachusetts gubernatorial and U.S. Senate Elections. He was also lead writer for Poll Vault, WBUR’s political reporting section during the 2014 Election Cycle.

He has led survey research programs for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq, in key states for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and has conducted surveys and polls on behalf of many private corporations. Koczela brings a deep understanding of the foundations of public opinion and a wide ranging methodological expertise. He earned U.S. Department of State recognition for his leading edge work on sample evaluation in post conflict areas using geospatial systems.

Koczela is frequent guest on WBUR as well as many other news and talk programs in Massachusetts and elsewhere. His polling analysis is often cited in local, state, and national media outlets. He currently serves as President of the New England Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (NEAAPOR). Koczela holds a Master’s degree in Marketing Research from the University of Wisconsin and is a veteran of the war in Iraq.

In fairness to all three, the struggle for name recognition is a hard one in Massachusetts this year, and challengers across the board have yet to crack the code. Republican challengers to Ed Markey, challengers in both parties in the 6th Congressional district, and lesser known gubernatorial candidates on both sides have all struggled to build awareness.

It’s still early, with even the primary still months away. Any of the lesser known Democrats could still break out. But if they do, they will not be repeating recent history; they will be making their own.