Campbell opens lead in new poll of AG’s race

Race remains close -- and volatile -- with lots of voters still undecided

A NEW TRACKING POLL completed two days before the state primary shows Andrea Campbell opening up a small lead in the hard-fought Democratic race for attorney general, but the contest remains volatile with a sizable share of voters still undecided only hours before the polls open.

The tracking poll, conducted for the center-left organization Priorities for Progress, showed the former Boston city councilor with support from 38 percent of Democratic primary voters and Shannon Liss-Riordan with backing from 30 percent, with 32 percent of voters still undecided. (See here for full top-line results.) Priorities for Progress organizers are supporting Campbell, but say the poll is “research independent of that.” 

The poll of 1,276 voters, done by San Diego-based Carr Marketing, was conducted over three days, from September 2 to 4, and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. 

Three previous polls, all conducted in the last two weeks of August, showed no more than 2 points separating the candidates, with Campbell ahead by 2 points in polls by the MassINC Polling Group and the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Liss-Riordan leading by 1 point in a University of Massachusetts Amherst poll.  

The new tracking poll was carried out in the days immediately following Campbell’s endorsement by the Boston Globe and Quentin Palfrey’s announcement that he was dropping out of the race and endorsing Campbell. It also followed $293,000 in reported new spending by an independent super PAC in support of Campbell.

Liss-Riordan, a wealthy labor lawyer who has put $9.3 million of her money into her campaign, has made strong gains in polls since January, when she was registering in single digits. The tracking poll suggests “Liss-Riordan’s growth has flattened,” said Liam Kerr, an organizer with Policy for Progress. “But the electorate is still volatile. There’s a lot of undecideds, and they’re easy to move.” 

In other closely watched Democratic primary contests, the poll showed Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll leading the race for lieutenant governor with 24 percent, followed by state Sen. Eric Lesser with 16 percent, state Rep. Tami Gouveia with 8 percent, and a whopping 52 percent undecided.

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

In the race for state auditor, former state transportation official Chris Dempsey had 30 percent and state Sen. Diana DiZoglio had 25 percent, with 45 percent of primary voters still undecided.

This story was updated to reflect the fact that Priorities for Progress organizers are supporting Campbell.