Murray’s poll numbers
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray may not be political road kill after all, according to a new CommonWealth poll conducted by the MassINC Polling Group.
Ever since his crash along Interstate 190 in early November, the lieutenant governor has been backpedaling. Initially, he said he was out looking at storm damage when he hit a patch of ice and skidded off the road. He also said he was wearing his seatbelt and didn’t think he was speeding, and a Breathalyzer confirmed he wasn’t drinking.
But the predawn inspection didn’t make much sense, so questions kept being raised. Ultimately, Murray’s version of events unraveled when the State Police analyzed the black box from his car and found he wasn’t buckled in and his speed hit 108 miles per hour just before the crash. State Police investigators say they believe the lieutenant governor fell asleep at the wheel and issued him three citations totaling $555.
“I’ve been in elected office for 14 years and I think I have had a track record of making good decisions and sometimes tough decisions,” he said. “Certainly people may have their questions. All I can say is, this is what happened. I am thankful to be alive.”
Murray survived the horrific crash with a just a small scratch on his hand, but what about his future in politics, one that most politicos have assumed is focused on a 2014 run for governor?
The CommonWealth poll indicates he may be lucky there as well. The good news for Murray is that he remains a political unknown, even after all the bad crash publicity and a slew of stories about his unusually close relationship with Michael McLaughlin, the disgraced former Chelsea Housing Authority director who was being paid $360,000 a year.
A whopping 56 percent of those polled answered “don’t know” when asked whether they view him favorably or unfavorably, while 27 percent said they viewed him very or somewhat favorably and 17 percent viewed him very or somewhat unfavorably. (His anonymity, spoofed last fall in this video for a MassINC fundraising event, remains intact.)
The crash itself didn’t register with a lot of people. The poll indicates 52 percent of those surveyed knew nothing or not very much about the crash, while 47 percent knew a great deal or a fair amount.The problem for Murray is that those who are aware of the crash overwhelmingly think he’s hiding something. Among those who know a great deal about the crash, 57 percent believe he is concealing important information while 30 percent say he is being honest and forthright. The split was 58-26 among those who knew a fair amount about the crash and 41-23 among those who didn’t know much about the crash. The poll of 500 Massachusetts residents 18 and older was conducted from January 25 to 29, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.
The predawn crash raises serious credibility problems for Murray, but it also shows he remains largely a blank slate for many voters. The lieutenant governor is lucky there is a lot of time before the race for governor heats up.