More than half of Massachusetts voters favor two highly popular statewide candidates from opposite parties, with Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, each showing strong leads against all potential challengers, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of likely midterm voters.
Baker led Democratic candidates Bob Massie (54 percent to 20 percent) and Jay Gonzalez, the Democratic convention favorite, (52 percent to 22 percent). The 30-point margins are unprecedented in a state with only 11 percent of voters registered as Republicans. Baker was elected to his first term as governor four years ago by defeating Democrat Martha Coakley by just 2 percentage points. The poll shows Baker with 60 percent job approval and a 64 percent favorability rating.
Asked whether Baker is a pro- or anti-Trump Republican, 59 percent of voters indicated “anti-Trump,” 14 percent said “pro-Trump,” 11 percent said “neither,” and 16 percent were undecided.
U.S. Senate race
Warren has a commanding lead over all three Republican opponents vying for their party’s nomination in the Sept. 4 primary. The sitting senator led Geoff Diehl (55 percent to 33 percent), Beth Lindstrom (56 percent to 31 percent), and John Kingston (54 percent to 30 percent). Warren’s job approval stood at 54 percent, and her favorable rating was 57 percent.
“The mini-drama in November could be who gets more votes between Baker and Warren,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Baker could step onto the national stage that Warren currently occupies.”
Although the state ballot questions have not been finalized, the poll showed some clear trends. Two-thirds of voters (66 percent) support a “millionaire’s tax” which would assess a surtax of 4 percent on individuals earning a million dollars or more, while 26 percent opposed it.
Meanwhile, 67 percent supported raising the Massachusetts current minimum wage of $11 per hour by $1-per-hour increments beginning in 2019 until the rate reaches $15 per hour in 2022, while 27 percent opposed.
Seventy percent of Massachusetts voters see the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace as very important in the aftermath of revelations from the #MeToo movement launched last year. In the context of sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn and his consequent resignation as CEO of Wynn Resorts, 46 percent of voters favored allowing Wynn Resorts to continue constructing its Everett casino and to operate the casino once complete. However, 38 percent said Wynn Resorts should not continue the project, and 15 percent weren’t sure. Among women, 48 percent wanted Wynn Resorts out of the project, while 36 percent said Wynn should continue construction and operate the Everett casino.
Record of polling success
Suffolk University polling has a record of accurately predicting Massachusetts statewide elections since 2010. In the 2014 Massachusetts midterm election, the final Suffolk University poll predicted that Baker would defeat Democrat Martha Coakley by 3 points. Baker won by 2 points. The final Suffolk poll in the 2010 midterm race for governor predicted that Democrat Deval Patrick would defeat Baker by 7 points. Patrick won by 6 points.
The statewide Suffolk University survey was conducted through live interviews of land line and cell phone users. All respondents indicated that they were registered to vote in Massachusetts. The survey of 500 voters was conducted June 8 – June 12, 2018. 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.