Mayor Martin J. Walsh holds a 31-point lead over his closest mayoral rival, District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson, with the city’s Sept. 26 preliminary election on the far horizon, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of registered Boston voters.
Walsh is the choice of 54 percent of voters, with Jackson drawing 23 percent; retired police officer and former School Committee member Robert Cappucci, 4 percent; businessman Joseph Wiley, 1 percent; and 18 percent undecided.
Walsh’s favorability rating was 61 percent favorable–17 percent unfavorable, while Jackson’s was 40 percent favorable–14 percent unfavorable.
Forty-six percent of those polled have either never heard of Jackson or haven’t formed an opinion about him, while 39 percent said they have personally met Walsh.
“What a difference a term in office makes,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “When Marty Walsh was first elected four years ago, he won by less than 4 points. This lead is eight times that margin, and his widespread support cuts across many demographics.”
Walsh led in every region of the city, every age group, and among both men and woman. He was the choice of white voters (65 percent to 19 percent), black voters (41 percent to 30 percent), and Latino voters (45 percent to 34 percent).
Issues of Race
The poll reveals that city voters are split on whether Boston is a racist city, with 45 percent saying it is not racist, 42 percent saying it is, and 13 percent undecided. Perceptions varied, with 57 percent of black voters saying that Boston is a racist city, 22 percent saying it is not, and 22 percent undecided; 44 percent of Latino voters perceiving racism, 40 percent did not, and 16 were undecided; and 37 percent of white respondents saying Boston is racist, 52 percent said it is not, and 11 percent were undecided.
On a more personal level, more than 80 percent of respondents citywide said they had not experienced unfair treatment related to their racial or ethnic background in the past 30 days at locations such as the workplace, an entertainment venue, shopping, a health care setting, or in dealings with police.
In terms of race relations, 7 percent said they are very good, 52 percent said somewhat good, 28 percent said somewhat bad, and 8 percent said very bad.
When asked to choose among seven issues facing the city, Boston voters prioritized schools/education (22 percent), health care (20 percent); crime (18 percent); and cost of housing (17 percent).
Forty-nine percent of Boston voters said they are better off than they were four years ago, while 26 percent said their status is unchanged, and 23 percent said they are worse off.
Charges against City Hall staff
Forty-five percent of voters were aware of the union-related extortion charges against two of Walsh’s aides, while 16 percent were not very aware of the charges, and 37 percent were not at all aware.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has a 57 percent favorable rating and a 16 percent unfavorable rating among Bostonians. In the 2014 gubernatorial election he received 30 percent of the Boston vote, while 66 percent voted for his Democratic opponent Martha Coakley.
In the 2013 race for mayor, the final Suffolk University poll predicted Walsh over challenger John Connolly by 3 points. Walsh won by 3.5 points.
The field of 500 Boston registered voters was conducted June 19 through June 21 using a Boston voters list, assigning turnout quotas based on the 2013 and 2009 citywide elections and factoring in the 2017 contested district council seats in the September preliminary election. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent 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, firstname.lastname@example.org.