Suffolk Poll Shows MA Governor Baker's Coronavirus Approval Slipping

Baker enjoys an overwhelming majority of support, but his coronavirus approval is falling as cases rise

Governor Charlie Baker enjoys an overwhelming majority of support from Massachusetts residents, but his coronavirus approval is beginning to slip, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of Massachusetts residents.

According to the poll, nearly 72% approve of Baker’s handling of the coronavirus while 21% disapprove. This is nearly a ten-point drop from a June poll which showed Baker’s coronavirus approval at 81% approve – 14% disapprove. Baker’s coronavirus approval dropped 14 points among women, 16 points among rural residents, and 25 points among Hispanics. 

While in the throes of Phase 3 of the reopening, a majority (57%) said that Baker has found the right balance at this point, while 23% say he is being too lenient, leaving too much open for too long, and 15% say he is being too strict, closing too much for too long. In the June poll, 74% of residents felt Baker had found the right balance in efforts to stop coronavirus spread. Those numbers dropped 17 points in the most recent poll. 

Vaccine on the horizon

As COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise, the poll shows that Massachusetts residents are split on whether or not they believe forthcoming vaccines will end the pandemic with 48% saying the vaccines will end the pandemic and 45% saying they will not.  And a slight majority (52%) will take a vaccine as soon as it is available, while 33% will wait until others have taken it, and 12% will not take a vaccine.  

Though Massachusetts residents expressed more concern for their physical health (56%) than for their financial well-being (28%), concerns about personal finances continue to weigh on residents as Congress grapples with the details of a relief package over the next week.

Personal finances

Nearly 43% say the coronavirus situation has diminished their income since March, up nearly 7 points from the 36% recorded in the most recent June poll, when stimulus checks had been distributed. Diminished incomes are hurting young residents the most, with 64% of those ages 18-24 years and 53% of those ages 25-34 saying their regular incomes have diminished.

In addition, a majority (53%) now say they are very or somewhat concerned about their financial situation or employment. Concern hit 60% among residents ages 35-44 years and 71% among those households earning $50,000 or less.

Holiday spending and perceptions

Very few people plan to spend more on gifts during the holidays this year, according to the poll. Just 8% plan to spend more than they did last year while a majority (54%) plan to spend less and 36% say they will spend about the same. When asked to characterize the upcoming December holidays, 71% said they would be worse than most or the worst ever while 8% said they would be better than most or the best ever.

Methodology

The statewide Suffolk University survey was conducted through live interviews of cell phone and land line users. All respondents indicated that they were residents of Massachusetts. The survey of 500 respondents was conducted December 7– December 10. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.