Poll: Mass. Voters Would Opt for Tax Increase to Put Public Schools on Equal Footing

Suffolk University/Boston Globe survey shows governor is popular despite dissatisfaction with schools & transportation

A majority of Massachusetts voters believe state funding of education should be distributed so as to eliminate inequalities among public school districts, and a majority said they’d be willing to pay more in state taxes to achieve that end, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of registered voters taken last week.

Sixty percent of those polled said public K-12 education isn’t adequately funded in Massachusetts, and 50 percent assigned a higher rating of importance to inequality in public schools, compared to 40 percent who view it as less of a problem.

To alleviate these disparities, 58 percent of voters said they would be willing to pay more in state taxes.

Meanwhile, 61 percent say general travel, including commuting to work and school, has gotten worse over the past five years.

Voter dissatisfaction rolls off Baker

Yet Gov. Charlie Baker is viewed favorably by 69 percent of voters, and 67 percent say that he should seek a third term.

“Charlie Baker has become the Teflon Republican in Massachusetts,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Despite voter frustration on the issues of education and transportation, Baker continues to defy the statistical odds of a Republican with five straight years of sky-high favorability.”

Democratic candidates for president

Former Vice President Joe Biden (22 percent) led Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (10 percent), followed closely by South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (8 percent), Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (6 percent), and California Sen. Kamala Harris (5 percent), while 19 other candidates split 7 percent of the results and a significant 42 percent of likely Democratic voters were undecided.

Among registered Democrats, Warren was viewed favorably by 71 percent with 23 percent unfavorable, while among Republicans her favorability was 4 percent favorable – 93 percent unfavorable, and among independents 39 percent favorable – 51 percent unfavorable.

U.S. Senate

In a hypothetical 2020 Democratic matchup for senator from Massachusetts, incumbent Sen. Ed Markey (44 percent) outpolled Shannon Liss-Riordan (5 percent) and Steve Pemberton (5 percent), with 45 percent undecided.

"Although the 45 percent undecided number appears high, most incumbents win a share of undecided voters, which puts added pressure on the challengers to raise big money early in order to mount a credible campaign and ‘run the table’ on all the remaining undecided voters,” said Paleologos. “Currently Markey is viewed favorably by 1 out of 4 undecided voters. If he converts those who already like him to electoral support, he should be well positioned to continue his political career."

Democratic scenario for governor

Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh were neck-and-neck in a hypothetical ballot test for the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial primary, with Walsh at 36 percent, Healey at 34 percent, and 28 percent undecided.

Thumbs Down on Trump But Don’t Impeach

President Donald Trump was viewed favorably by 30 percent of voters, while 61 percent gave him an unfavorable rating, and 9 percent weren’t sure. Despite the negative views, a plurality, 49 percent oppose impeachment, while 42 percent want the U.S. House of Representatives to seriously consider impeaching the president.

Methodology

The statewide Suffolk University survey was conducted through live interviews of cell phone and land line users. All respondents indicated that they were registered voters in Massachusetts. The survey of 600 voters was conducted June 5 – June 9. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. The margin of error of the 370 likely Democratic primary voters is +/- 5.1 percentage points. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.