City Councilor-at-large John Connolly (16 percent) leads State Representative Martin Walsh and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, who are deadlocked at 12 percent, according to the latest Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll of tightly screened likely voters in this September’s preliminary election.

Former State Representative Charlotte Golar Richie follows closely behind (10 percent) in a crowded field of twelve mayoral hopefuls that will be cut to two finalists following the Sept. 24 preliminary election. Golar Richie moved up 5 percentage points from a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll released in July.

Just 19 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

Candidates close behind the frontrunners include District Councilor Rob Consalvo (8 percent), community activist Bill Walczak and Councilor-at-large Felix Arroyo (tied with 6 percent), District Councilor Michael Ross (5 percent) and former Boston School Committee member John Barros (3 percent). The remaining three candidates District Councilor Charles Yancey, radio station owner Charles Clemons, and David Wyatt, former Boston public school teacher, combined receive 2 percent.

“Since the July poll, Councilor-at-large John Connolly has opened up a little distance from the pack,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “If the undecided voters continue to fall in the same proportion as they have over the past two months, Connolly may be the only candidate who breaks through the magical 20 percent threshold, which would earn him a place on the final ballot for mayor.”

Connolly’s personal popularity increased among likely voters as well. At 55 percent favorable – 19 percent unfavorable, Connolly has the highest favorability rates of any candidate in the race.
Since July, the undecided percentage dropped 21 points and it was distributed to just seven of the twelve candidates who each improved somewhat: Golar Richie (+5 points), Connolly (+4 points), Bill Walczak (+4 points), Dan Conley (+3 points), John Barros (+2 points), Felix Arroyo (+2 points), and Martin Walsh (+1 point).

In an early test of potential two-way matchups, Connolly fares the best against four possible contenders as follows:

Matchup

Connolly 47 percent; Consalvo 25 percent; Undecided 26 percent; Connolly +22 margin

Connolly 44 percent; Walsh 29 percent; Undecided 24 percent; Connolly +15 margin

Connolly 43 percent; Richie 32 percent; Undecided 23 percent; Connolly +11 margin

Connolly 36 percent; Conley 29 percent; Undecided 31 percent; Connolly +7 margin

Just as many likely voters (46 percent) support the location of a casino in East Boston as opposed. Nine percent are undecided. And on the question of who should vote on the casino proposal locally, an overwhelming 64 percent say that all of the residents of the city should be heard and vote on the issue while just 30 percent indicate that only East Boston residents should decide the fate of the development.

The poll is part of a Boston mayoral race partnership between Suffolk University and the Boston Herald that includes polling, candidate debates and forums, commentary and hands-on involvement for Suffolk students.

“David Paleologos’ polling is second to none, and we’re pleased to partner with Suffolk University to provide his cutting-edge surveys and analysis to help voters understand this complex race,” said Boston Herald Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca.

Methodology

Using the voter list from the 2012 presidential election and other Boston elections, the Suffolk University poll used a tight screen to filter out voters who weren't likely to vote or who couldn't name the approximate time frame of the preliminary election for mayor of Boston. All respondents who could not name the month of September were screened out. The field of 600 very likely preliminary election voters was conducted Thursday, September 12 through Tuesday, September 17. The margin of error is +/- 4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website: www.suffolk.edu/academics/1093.php. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.