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Massachusetts attorney general leading in governor's race: poll

BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has a comfortable lead over her closest challenger for the Democratic nomination to run for governor with less than a week to go before the party primary, a new poll found.

Coakley leads state Treasurer Steve Grossman among likely voters by 52 percent to 20 percent in the September 9 primary, according to a UMass Lowell/7 News poll released late Tuesday.

In a general election matchup with Republican businessman Charlie Baker, Coakley would lead by 41 percent to 32 percent, based on the poll of 1,624 registered voters conducted Aug. 25 through Sunday. The poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

Coakley, who has been the state's top prosecutor since 2007, stunned Massachusetts Democrats in 2010 when she lost a bid to succeed the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy to Republican Scott Brown, at the time a little-known state legislator.

Brown, who failed to win re-election in 2012, has since moved to New Hampshire, where he is once again campaigning for U.S. Senate, tying to unseat incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has said he will step down in January after eight years in office.

If she wins in November, Coakley would be the first woman elected as governor of Massachusetts. Republican Jane Swift became acting governor in 2001, when Paul Cellucci resigned to take a post as U.S. ambassador to Canada.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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