As Gov. Deval Patrick heads into the final stretch of campaign season, he got some help from an old friend – President Barack Obama. The President was in Boston this weekend to fire up the Democratic base and to get out the vote for Governor Patrick in what promises to be a very tight gubernatorial race.
On Saturday, it seemed like the Hynes Convention Center was hosting a rock concert. Lines wrapped around five city blocks. An aid for Patrick estimated that 15,000 people had shown up. Inside the convention center, native son singer-songwriter James Taylor got the crowd warmed up.
The audience let out a roar when Obama finally took the podium:
“Massachusetts, it’s great to be back, and I am so happy to be standing here with one of the best governors this state has ever seen: My friend Deval Patrick,” said Obama.
But President soon noted that his friend's re-election wouldn't come easily. Recent polls show the race to be a close one, and political analysts say that in order for Deval Patrick to win, he needs his base to turn out in large numbers.
So that’s where President Obama comes in. His aim on Saturday was to energize the party faithful, which has been disillusioned in the four years since Patrick won with record support. But Obama urged voters to go to the polls on November 2nd and put the Governor back in office. "You've got to help him finish the work y'all started in 2006. That's why you need to help guard the change that you helped deliver in 2006, by giving Deval Patrick four more years," the president said.
Obama cast the gubernatorial election in national terms – as a decision between Democratic policies that would move the country forward and Republican policies that would move the country back.
"This election is a choice and the stakes could not be higher. Deval’s opponents - they've got a very different vision of where this state should go – and it's up to us to say that we don't want what they are selling. We've been there, we've tried it, we don't like it, and we're not going back," Obama said.
President Obama might be the right person for Gov. Patrick to have around. Although Obama's approval ratings are not what they once were, he’s still quite popular in Massachusetts. A poll of the state's relatively conservative 10th District shows Obama has a favorability rating of 56% (The margin of error is 4.9%). This lines up with the latest Suffolk University statewide poll that shows the president still has more than a 50% approval rating in Massachusetts.
Analysts say that’s enough to potentially boost Governor Patrick’s chances on Election Day.