Poll: Mass. Voters Support Governor on Issues

Massachusetts voters support Gov. Deval Patrick on issues such as casino gambling, encouraging in-state movie productions and extending same-sex marriage rights, and they will vote for Barack Obama and John Kerry, according to a poll released today by 7NEWS/Suffolk University.

Support for casinos

Fifty-nine percent of those polled supported casino gambling, which Patrick proposed but the Legislature rejected. Twenty-nine percent of the registered voters polled opposed. This compares to the August 2006 7NEWS/Suffolk University survey, which found that 51 percent supported casino gambling and 42 percent opposed. 

Sixty-three percent of those polled said that the new Massachusetts tax credit for filmmakers is a good idea because it creates jobs and brings new money to Massachusetts. Twenty-two percent said that the tax credit is bad policy because it costs the state too much money. 

And, in the wake of Massachusetts’ lifting a restriction on marriages of same-sex couples from out of state, 59 percent said those couples should be allowed to legally marry in Massachusetts even if their home state prohibits gay marriage, while 37 percent said that gay couples should not be allowed to marry in Massachusetts if their home states do not allow it. 

"It looks like two thumbs up for marriage and movies," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston. "However, the third act of casinos has yet to be played out."

Economic worries

However, the voters hold a grim view of economic issues. Forty-six percent expect the economy to get worse next year, while 38 percent said it will improve. Separately, 35 percent of respondents said Massachusetts is going in the right direction, while 49 percent said it is on the wrong track. 

A majority (62 percent-36 percent) of voters said that they have driven fewer miles per week over the summer to adjust for the increase in the price of gas. This compares to the August 2006 survey, when the price of gas was $3 per gallon, when 42 percent said they were curtailing miles driven and 55 percent said they were not. 

Worries about airport security and terrorism are declining. Voters said that Logan was a safe and secure airport by a 75 percent-15 percent margin, compared to 59 percent-32 percent in August 2006. They said they believe there will be no terrorist attack on U.S. soil in the next year by a 62 percent-22 percent margin. These numbers show a reversal from 2006, when 66 percent said there would be an attack, and 23 percent said there would be no attack.

Barack Obama led John McCain 47 percent to 38 percent, while Green party candidate Cynthia McKinney and Libertarian Bob Barr garnered 1 percent each. Thirteen percent were undecided. U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who faces opponents in both the Democratic Primary and General Election, led Democrat Ed O'Reilly 64 percent to 20 percent in the Primary and Republican Jeffrey Beatty 51 percent to 29 percent in a head-to-head race.

Popular pols

The most popular statewide figures in Massachusetts are U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, 62 percent favorable-29 percent unfavorable; Gov. Patrick, 51 percent favorable-36 percent unfavorable; and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, 49 percent favorable-18 percent unfavorable. 

Finally, 72 percent of respondents said the Red Sox did the right thing by trading left-fielder Manny Ramirez. Only 15 percent opposed the front office decision, while 14 percent were undecided.


The 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll was conducted Thursday, July 31, 2008, through Sunday, August 3, 2008. The margin of error on the study of 400 is +/- 4.90 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. All respondents from the statewide survey were registered voters in Massachusetts. Marginals and 186 pages of cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center. Additional questions are embargoed for broadcast on Aug. 13, 2008. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.