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WBUR Poll: Warren And Baker In Strong Positions For Re-Election

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, left, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appear to be in good standing with Massachusetts voters as they head toward re-election battles next year. (AP photos)MoreCloseclosemore
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, left, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appear to be in good standing with Massachusetts voters as they head toward re-election battles next year. (AP photos)

Elizabeth Warren and Charlie Baker appear to be in good standing with Massachusetts voters as they head toward re-election battles next year.

A new WBUR poll (topline, crosstabs) finds 55 percent of registered voters in the state view Warren, one of the state's two Democratic U.S. senators, favorably.

In the last WBUR poll, conducted in January, 51 percent of registered voters viewed Warren favorably. That survey also found that only 44 percent of voters thought Warren deserved re-election, while 46 percent thought it was time to "give someone else a chance."

The latest poll did not ask whether Warren deserves re-election, but instead surveyed head-to-head matchups with current and potential Republican challengers. It finds that Warren's opponents have little name recognition and poll far behind the incumbent senator more than a year before the election.

Warren is unpopular in one part of the state: southeastern Massachusetts. Forty-nine percent of registered voters there have an unfavorable view of her, while only 36 percent view her favorably.

"The economic boom that we see in metro Boston has not reached New Bedford and Fall River," says Jeff Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University. "It's a whiter area, less diverse area, and it's a less educated area, so all of [these] things work against Sen. Warren."

The poll also finds Gov. Charlie Baker is still more popular among Massachusetts voters than Warren: 64 percent of registered voters say they have a favorable view of the Republican governor.

"Charlie Baker is very popular," says MassINC pollster Steve Koczela, who conducted the survey for WBUR. "Throughout most of his term, he's been either one of the most popular or the most popular governor in America."

Baker is even popular among Democrats: 57 percent of registered Democratic voters maintain a favorable view of him.

"The thing we're looking for, though, is whether that popularity translates into votes," Koczela says. "In recent history, it hasn't always. So Scott Brown, for instance, was very popular going into his own re-election effort. He was facing, at the outset of the campaign, some Democrats that didn't have much name recognition, and he ended up facing Elizabeth Warren."

Warren ended up defeating Brown in the 2012 Senate race.

"Charlie Baker and Elizabeth Warren, as of now, are prohibitive favorites in 2018. Neither opposing party has candidates now who appear to be viable candidates against them."

Jeff Berry, political science professor at Tufts

"Charlie Baker and Elizabeth Warren, as of now, are prohibitive favorites in 2018," says Berry, of Tufts. "Neither opposing party has candidates now who appear to be viable candidates against them."

If the election were held today, Baker would easily defeat any of his three Democratic opponents, who many voters say they've never heard of more than a year out from Election Day.

The WBUR poll finds Baker with a 33-point lead over Jay Gonzalez, who was secretary of administration and finance under former Gov. Deval Patrick. Fifty-five percent say they would vote for Baker, 22 percent for Gonzalez.

Baker holds a 30-point lead over environmentalist Robert Massie, 55 percent to 25 percent.

Baker's tightest lead against an announced opponent is against Newton Mayor Setti Warren, but it's still a 27-point lead, 53 percent to 26 percent.

But Attorney General Maura Healey could give Baker a tighter race. Healey is not running, but if she did, Baker would have only a 12-point lead over her, 48 percent to 36 percent.

The poll also finds that Warren would easily beat Republican state Rep. Geoff Diehl, of Whitman, who's exploring a run against Warren. Warren has a 31-point lead over him, 60 percent to 29 percent.

Warren's only announced opponent is Republican Cambridge entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai. She holds a 36-point lead against him, 61 percent to 25 percent.

A ballot proposal to increase state taxes on residents with incomes of more than $1 million a year enjoys overwhelming support: 81 percent of voters say they would support the measure, while only 15 percent oppose it.

And another ballot proposal to reduce the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent also has the support of voters: 62 percent say they support the measure, while 28 percent oppose it.

Meanwhile, President Trump remains very unpopular in Massachusetts. Sixty-five percent of registered voters have an unfavorable opinion of him. Only 28 percent hold a favorable view.

The live telephone survey of 504 registered voters across Massachusetts was conducted June 19-22. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Related:

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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