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WBUR Poll: As Trump Takes Office, Most Mass. Voters Are Even Less Confident In Him06:11
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In this file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign stop at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Jan. 4, 2016. (Charles Krupa/AP)
In this file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign stop at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Jan. 4, 2016. (Charles Krupa/AP)
This article is more than 2 years old.

It's clear that President-elect Donald Trump has failed to sway public opinion in Massachusetts, a blue state that overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in November.

A new statewide WBUR poll (topline, crosstabs) finds Trump with a 28 percent favorability rating among registered Massachusetts voters. Sixty percent of voters view him unfavorably.

And, on the eve of his inauguration, the majority of people polled are less confident in Trump's presidential abilities today than they were when he was elected.

The live telephone survey was conducted Sunday through Tuesday. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Trump voters

A majority of the 508 voters polled say President Trump will be bad for foreign relations, the environment, journalism and race relations in the country.

And a plurality — 42 percent of voters — believe a Trump presidency will have a negative impact on people like them.

"Yes, I'm an American and I was born and raised here, but I do come from a family of immigrants," said 23-year old Somerville resident Iliana Rivera, a poll respondent who counts herself among those voters who consider Trump a potential threat to her and her family.

Rivera says she and her girlfriend of a year were so concerned about the impact Trump may have on marriage equality that they decided to act before he takes office.

"We made sure we got married before the 20th of January just 'cause, we're just afraid that anything could happen," she said. Rivera hopes her concerns are unfounded but says she's not optimistic.

Steve Koczela — president of The MassINC Polling Group, which conducts surveys for WBUR -- says the outlook is consistently dreary across the country, but it's especially bad in Massachusetts.

"Massachusetts voters have a more negative view of Trump than nationally, and that's not terribly surprising just looking at the partisan composition of Massachusetts voters," Koczela said. "You know, in pretty much every issue, and views of pretty much every politician, you can expect Massachusetts will lean more toward the Democratic side."

So, with that in mind, it's perhaps surprising that 40 percent of voters believe that Trump will have a positive impact on the country's economy. Thirty-seven percent feel Trump will be bad for the economy.

Trump's Taxes And Conflicts

But the consensus is clear when it comes to Trump's refusal to release his tax returns, which Trump says remain under audit. When asked last week about his taxes, at his first press conference since the election, Trump said voters don't care about his taxes.

"You know the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, OK. They're the only ones," Trump said. "I won. I mean, I became president. No, I don't think [voters] care at all. I don't think they care at all. I think you care."

But WBUR's poll finds Massachusetts voters care plenty.

Seventy-five percent of the respondents believe the president-elect should release his tax returns. That's consistent with another nationwide survey. And, in the WBUR poll, that includes 47 percent of Republican respondents.

75 percent of Mass. voters believe the president-elect should release his tax returns.

Eleanor Raye, 70, of Northborough, voted for Trump in the general election. She says she backs Trump whether his taxes are released or not, but she'd like to see the debate itself come to an end.

"It gives the opponents who are not happy with Mr. Trump, they're using the, 'Oh, he must have something very dreadful because he won't show his tax returns.' I think it may be a whole lot of nothing but it's still hanging over his head," Raye said.

Voters are also paying close attention to the president-elect's business operations. And a majority do not think that merely transferring management of his company to his sons goes far enough to guarantee Trump's autonomy in the Oval Office.

Koczela says there may be a correlation between that high level of skepticism around Trump's business ethics and the strong desire for Trump to release his tax returns.

"I think what you can take from this is that voters don't think what has been announced so far is adequate," he said. "I think the tax returns are closely related to this. Tax returns, I think, would represent a gesture toward transparency that has not existed so far."

'Repeal And Replace'?

When it comes to the Affordable Care Act -- which Trump and Republicans have promised to repeal -- there's a lot of uncertainty. About half of respondents think Trump and Congress will make good on their promise to replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

If it is repealed, Massachusetts voters want their Democratic representatives in Washington at the table to help craft a new plan. As of now, the Democrats don't seem especially eager to be a part of the brainstorming.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren squarely places the responsibility for creating a new plan on Republicans.

"What I really want to see is a plan," she said recently. "The Republicans have been complaining for eight years and they have no plan to put on the table. And this is not like some random thing. They have been focused on health care and we're talking about people's lives and they're vaguely making promises. Let's see the plan and let's work on a plan."

Four out of five voters say Democrats shouldn't wait for a Republican plan but instead, should be part of designing that plan.

Harold Thomas, a registered Democrat from Cheshire, says he'd like to see Warren, in particular, be an active part of creating a replacement policy.

"We've got to work together 'cause it's a real mess right now," Thomas said, "and I think Senator Warren is one of the best in the business, that's why I would like to have her in there to say her piece, make sure it's done in a way that's going to benefit all the little people."

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Republicans will indeed repeal the Affordable Care Act, let alone replace it.

There's also no telling exactly what type of president Trump will be once he takes office.

But what is clear — at least for now — is that the mood on Inauguration Day among voters in Massachusetts will be anything but celebratory.

Fifty-nine percent are less confident in Trump today than on the day he became the president-elect.

This segment aired on January 19, 2017.

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Shannon Dooling Twitter Reporter
Shannon Dooling is a reporter representing WBUR on a team of public radio station journalists in the New England News Collaborative.

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