If there was a 'comeback player of the year' award in American politics it would be hard to give it to anyone other than Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. In January of 2010 we found him with a 22% approval rating and 59% of voters disapproving. Our newest poll in the state finds those numbers almost completely reversed with 54% of voters now saying he's doing a good job to 36% who dissent. That's a 55 point climb in Patrick's net approval over the last 17 months and he's the only politician who's ever seen that kind of resurrection in his image during the time we've been polling on a national basis.
Patrick won reelection by 6 points in November despite his putrid approval numbers earlier in the year and he's just continuing to get stronger. Voters say that if they went to the polls now 54% of their votes would go to Patrick compared to only 32% for GOP nominee Charlie Baker and 9% for independent Tim Cahill. Those numbers represent a 16 point climb from his actual margin of victory.
2 big takeaways from Patrick's numbers:
-It really would be in the best interest of Democrats if he rethought his decision not to run for the Senate next year. With the Democratic field so unsettled and no field clearing candidates in the race or likely to join it any time soon, Patrick really has months to change his mind and run a perfectly viable campaign. We didn't test him head to head against Scott Brown on this poll, but his approval numbers are better than Brown's and although my guess is that the incumbent would still lead in a head to head I think it would be pretty close.
-North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue's people should be talking to Patrick's people to figure out what the heck he did to turn his numbers around so dramatically. Obviously Massachusetts and North Carolina are very different states and it's going to be easier for a Dem to get things turned around in the Bay State. But there have to be lessons in Patrick's amazing turnaround that Perdue could apply as she deals with chronically poor approval numbers heading into a tough fight for reelection.
Full results here