PPP's first comprehensive look at next year's race for Governor in Massachusetts finds that voters are largely unfamiliar with the potential candidates, making it pretty wide open.
The one exception to that rule is if Scott Brown decides to make a race of it. Despite working as a Fox News commentator and openly flirting with running for office in another state, he remains quite popular with 53% of Massachusetts voters seeing him favorably to 35% with a negative opinion. Brown leads all the potential Democratic candidates we tested by anywhere from 4 to 18 points. William Galvin comes closest at 43-39, followed by Mike Capuano at 45-38, Steve Grossman at 46-34, Joe Avellone, Don Berwick, and Mo Cowan who each trail by 17 at 46/29, 47/30, and 48/31 respectively, and Carmen Ortiz who trails 49/31.
One reason the Democrats all trail Brown by so much is that they're largely unknown. Galvin has the highest name recognition but even he is known only to 52% of voters in the state. He's followed in familiarity by Capuano at 46%, Grossman and Ortiz at 34%, Cowan at 28%, Avellone at 19%, and Berwick at 17%. Asked who out of that crew they'd like as their candidate for Governor next year, 44% of Democrats say they'd prefer someone else or that they're not sure. Capuano leads the way among those who have an opinion with 17% to 13% for Galvin, 6% for Grossman, 5% for Avellone and Ortiz, and 4% for Berwick and Cowan.
Tisei does the poorest of the Republicans, trailing every Democrat we looked at. He's down 39-24 to Galvin, 38-24 to Capuano, 34-25 to Grossman, 30-25 to Cowan, 29-25 to Avellone, 28-24 to Berwick, and 29-27 to Ortiz. Just like with the Baker match ups that's a lot of undecideds.
Sometimes early polling on a race tells us something, but sometimes it doesn't tell us much. This is one of the latter cases. If Scott Brown runs he'll be the favorite but beyond that these folks just aren't very well known and the race won't develop much until the field is set and they start becoming more familiar to voters across the state.
Full results here