City Councilor-at-Large John Connolly (41 percent) leads State Rep. Martin Walsh (34 percent) in the race for mayor of Boston, with 23 percent undecided, according to the latest Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll of tightly screened likely voters in the November city election.
Voters rated Connolly 62 percent favorable-14 percent unfavorable, while Walsh polled at 55 percent favorable-16 percent unfavorable.
A gender gap is emerging in the race, with women favoring Connolly 43 percent to 29 percent and Walsh edging Connolly among men, 39 percent to 38 percent.
“For Connolly, women are the difference in this race right now,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “We see the gender gap widen still further among black and Hispanic men and women.”
Among black voters, men supported Walsh 45 percent to 14 percent, while women supported Connolly 52 percent to 16 percent. Among Hispanic men, Walsh led 45 percent to 36 percent, while Hispanic women preferred Connolly 47 percent to 31 percent.
Even given the gender gap, the Connolly lead over Walsh has shrunk from 15 points to 7 points, from a 44-29 advantage in head-to-head data collected during a Sept. 18 Suffolk University poll to the current 41-34 lead.
Among voters who said they turned out for the preliminary election, Connolly leads Walsh 39 percent to 34 percent. Voters who skipped the preliminary but plan to vote in November, favor Connolly 49 percent to 31 percent.
New face in at-large race
In the Boston City Council at-large race, newcomer Michelle Wu (17 percent) is poised to take one of the four available seats. Wu polled a close second to incumbent Ayanna Pressley (19 percent), followed by former at-large councilor and 2009 mayoral candidate Michael Flaherty (14 percent) and City Council President Stephen Murphy (12 percent). The candidates trailing the top four were Jeffrey Michael Ross (9 percent) and Martin Keogh, Jack Kelly and Annissa Essaibi George all tied at 6 percent.
Nearly two-thirds of likely voters (66 percent) supported increasing the length of the school day or school year, while 24 percent were opposed, and 10 percent were undecided.
Similarly, 67 percent would support the revival of “Little City Halls” – a hallmark of Kevin White’s administration – in Boston’s neighborhoods. These city government outposts would provide certain city services in more accessible locations than Government Center.
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of likely voters would support a city-sponsored gun buyback program, which the city has used successfully in the past.
The poll is part of a Boston mayoral race partnership between Suffolk University and the Boston Herald that includes polling, candidate forums, commentary and hands-on involvement for Suffolk students.
Using the voter list from the 2012 presidential election and other elections in Boston, the Suffolk University poll used a tight screen to filter out those who weren't likely to vote or who couldn't name the approximate timeframe of the final election for mayor of Boston. The field of 600 likely final election voters was conducted Wednesday, Oct. 2, through Sunday, Oct. 6. 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. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, firstname.lastname@example.org.