WBUR Poll: Among GOP Voters, Baker Is In Command; Senate Candidates Still Unknown

Gov. Charlie Baker in the WBUR studio on June 8, 2018 (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Gov. Charlie Baker in the WBUR studio on June 8, 2018 (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A new WBUR poll finds Gov. Charlie Baker in an unusual position heading into the state election. The Republican governor has better favorability numbers among likely Democratic primary voters than among likely Republican primary voters.

Sixty-eight percent of Democrats view Baker favorably, and 14 percent view him unfavorably. For Republicans, it's 66 percent favorable, 20 percent unfavorable.

Baker’s challenger, conservative pastor Scott Lively, got 28 percent of the delegates during the state Republican convention. Lively has repeatedly called out Baker for what he calls weak conservative values, telling the governor, "You’re not going to get away anymore with being a Democrat in the Republican Party. People aren’t going to stand for it."

Baker has mostly ignored the rumbles from his opponent. That may be because 60 percent of likely Republican primary voters still say they’ve never heard of Lively, according to the poll (topline results, crosstabs). And Baker leads Lively comfortably, up 70 percent to 17 percent, when undecided voters indicate which way they're leaning.

Senate Race

All of the Republican candidates in the U.S. Senate race are still struggling for recognition against liberal U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The candidates are former Romney administration official Beth Lindstrom, investment manager John Kingston and state Rep. Geoff Diehl.

Diehl, a former chair for Donald Trump's Massachusetts campaign, is the frontrunner in the pack. He has a 10-point lead over the other candidates, the WBUR poll found.

A lot could change in this race due to the sheer number of undecided voters. Forty-one percent of likely Republican voters say they're undecided, and at least half still haven’t heard of any of the three GOP Senate candidates.


When it comes to the governor’s race, Massachusetts Republican voters agree with Democratic voters on several issues. Eighty-two percent of Republicans say the major priority of the governor should be addressing the opioid crisis. That’s compared to 83 percent of Democrats. Both Republicans and Democrats also want the next governor to work on improving the state’s roads and reducing the cost of health care.

Where Republican greatly differ from Democrats are on issues regarding funding.

Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the poll for WBUR, says that tension could play out after the "Fair Share Amendment" was taken off this year's ballot.

“There’s a lot of questions about where money to fund what the Legislature wants to do comes from,” Koczela said. “Republicans want to keep taxes low. Democrats really want to find money to fund public education.”

When asked what the candidates for U.S. Senate should prioritize, Republican voters said reducing the federal budget deficit. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that senators should prioritize helping the middle class but they differ on where the money to do that should come from. Only 29 percent of Republican voters agreed that it’s a priority to raise taxes on the wealthy, compared with 64 percent of Democrats.

The live telephone survey, conducted Friday to Monday, polled 399 likely Republican primary voters. The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.


Headshot of Yasmin Amer

Yasmin Amer Executive Producer, Radio Boston
Yasmin Amer is a business reporter for WBUR.



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