PPP's final polls for the cycle in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Idaho find close races for Governor in the New England states, with Republican Butch Otter pulling away in Idaho.
In Connecticut Democrat Dan Malloy leads Republican challenger Tom Foley 44-41, with independent Joe Visconti getting 6%. When you take Visconti out of the mix and push undecideds about who they would vote for, Malloy maintains a 3 point lead at 47/44. The race has tightened since a month ago when we found Malloy leading 43/35. Since that time Foley's party has unified around him, taking him from 63% of the Republican vote to 80%. Foley is also keeping it close in the normally blue state by winning independents 43/29.
Even though there are many races across the country this year where voters don't like either candidate, Connecticut is on another level in that regard. Malloy has a 38/52 approval spread, but Foley has a 33/48 favorability rating. The race still remains very close but it may be in the end that in a race with two similarly unpopular candidates, the state ends up voting to form with its normal party allegiances.
In the race for Governor of Massachusetts Republican Charlie Baker leads Democratic foe Martha Coakley 46/42, with third party candidates combining for 7% and 6% still undecided. It's worth noting that undecideds, when prodded about who they lean toward, choose Coakley 39/14. Supporters of the third party candidates also say Coakley would be their second choice by a 38/29 spread. In a 2 way race Baker's lead goes down to 48/47, so there is some reason to think the contest could end up being tighter.
The big story in this contest is Baker's popularity. 52% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 33% with an unfavorable one. Few candidates across the country are managing that level of popularity this year. Coakley isn't unpopular- 44% see her favorably and 44% unfavorably- but Baker's on another level. Baker is winning independents 57/29, and he's receiving 86% of the Republican vote while just 69% of Democrats are for Coakley right now.
Ed Markey leads Republican challenger Brian Herr by a comfortable 52/38 spread in the US Senate race. Markey has proven to be a decently popular Senator, sporting a 46/32 approval rating.
When we polled Idaho in October the race for Governor was surprisingly competitive, with Republican Butch Otter leading his Democratic opponent A.J. Balukoff only 39/35. Since then the race has broken open though, and Otter now leads Balukoff 49/37. This is simply a story of GOP voters unifying around Otter as the election has moved closer. In October he was getting just 62% of the Republican vote, and now that's up to 76%. Balukoff leads with independents (45/33) and also has his party more unified around him, getting 87% of Democrats to Otter's 76% of Republicans. But it takes more than that for a Democrat to win in Idaho.
Republicans lead by double digits for the down ballot offices in Idaho too, with the exception of Superintendent of Public Instruction. That race looks very competitive with Republican Sherri Ybarra leading Democrat Jana Jones only 46/45.