Some Voters Disenchanted By Both Major Gov. Candidates

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WBUR's Bianca Vazquez Toness went on the road to find out what voters are saying across a huge swath of the state.

Bill and Frances Theis keep warm with hot cocoa and wait for their grandson to take the field after halftime at a Shrewsbury Senior High School football game. (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)
Bill and Frances Theis keep warm with hot cocoa and wait for their grandson to take the field after halftime at a Shrewsbury Senior High School football game. (Dominick Reuter for WBUR)

Bob Oakes:Bianca, where did your travels take you?

Bianca Vazquez Toness: I went over to Worcester and Fitchburg, then up to Lowell, and Lawrence and down to New Bedford.

What's the sense you got from people in all these communities?

Bob, I was overwhelmed by the frustration and anger that voters are feeling. People are working more than they used to, or struggling with unemployment, taxes are higher and they feel insecure. They also say this an important election, but the candidates aren't up for the job.

Listen to Francis Thies. She was watching her grandson play football in Shrewsbury. She usually votes Democratic, but here's her feeling about the candidates:

Not confident. They don't instill any confidence in you. I couldn't tell you who I'm going to vote for — yet.

And I heard something similar from folks who lean Republican. I found Mark Soutter watching his daughter play soccer in Andover. His wife has been out of work since April, but he's not taking any comfort from this election.

I've been unimpressed with governor Patrick's performance — below average at best. I think the Republicans have fielded a rather weak candidate in Charlie Baker. Nothing he's said has really just wowed me and said, 'yeah this is gonna be the change we need.

He plans to leave the governor's slot blank, but feels eager to vote in local elections.

Okay, we've heard a lot about the varied level of enthusiasm from voters who were actually with candidates this weekend. But what did you hear from people who called themselves supporters of Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker, in these communities that did not get a candidate visit?

Patrick supporters were certainly less excited about it than folks voting for Baker. They almost sounded apologetic or like he was the lesser of two evils.

Sandra Dias is a single mom and works as a nurse's assistant. I met her at a laundromat in Worcester:

I feel like the Democrat is not doing it for us, and the Republican, if they come in they're probably going to end up screwing us more anyways. I'm not happy with either.

But there are voters who think Patrick has done a good job, especially considering the situation. And they say they believe in the same things he does, that government can help in times of a recession.

Here's Paula Iaeillo, she's from Shrewsbury and says she's worried about Charlie Baker's plan to cut taxes:

I think people need to be realistic. Until we can get the jobs in the state that we need to get, I don't think we can cut taxes. I think we need those taxes to support public ventures: police, fire, schools. So, you start cutting taxes back to the levels they were at, you're going to start losing some of those things.

So, instead of being frustrated with voters, Iaello is more frustrated with fellow voters.

And what about Baker supporters?

What struck me is that they tend to be more excited to vote against Patrick than they are to vote for Baker.

For exmaple, many voters are livid about that the sales tax increase during Patrick's term from 5 to 6.5 percent. Take Robert Deters, also from Shrewsbury. He says small businesses create jobs, not the government.

Small businesses do. Small businesses. You have to decrease the regulation, decrease the taxes, put it back in the hands of people who create jobs. Not keep raising taxes, it's just not sustainable.

But a lot of voters are really confused by this battle of ideas — what the role of government should be in the economy and what the level of taxes should be.

I met Michelle Natale from New Bedford in the parking lot of a grocery store.

The way that things have been going for the past few years, it can't continue. If it does, we're just going to get worse. So I think if we don't pick the right person, it will be an issue. But the way that they present things, you have a hard time deciding

Natale says needs help from an unbiased guide to understand and sort out the different positions the candidates have taken on the economy and job creation.

This program aired on November 1, 2010.


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