Poll: Voters Favor Nurse Staffing Requirements, Baker, Warren

Courtesy State House News Service

By Katie Lannan
State House News Service

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, SEPT. 19, 2019….A majority of likely voters support the nurse staffing, campaign finance and transgender non-discrimination questions on November’s ballot, along with backing Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in their re-election bids, according to a poll out Wednesday.

The Suffolk University/Boston Globe survey of 500 likely voters gave the Republican incumbent Baker a 27-point lead over his Democratic challenger Jay Gonzalez. Gonzalez trailed Baker 55-28, with 17 percent undecided.

More than 40 percent of respondents said Baker was most responsible for Massachusetts “heading in the right direction,” giving him more credit than the economy in general (24 percent), the state Legislature (23 percent), President Donald Trump (3 percent) or Congress (2 percent).

Asked who is most responsible for the state “heading on the wrong track,” respondents assigned most of the blame to the Legislature, whose 38 percent beat out Trump (20 percent), Baker (18 percent), Congress (7 percent) and the economy (3 percent).

More than 73 percent disapproved of the way Trump is handling his job as president, with almost 22 percent approving. Fifty-three percent said the U.S. House of Representatives should seriously consider impeaching him, while 38 percent thought they should not.

Baker, meanwhile, had a 72 percent job approval rating and 18 percent disapproval. He was the most popular of the eight political figures polled, with 73 percent saying they viewed him favorably and 17 percent unfavorably.

Sixty percent said they viewed Baker as an anti-Trump Republican and 12 percent as pro-Trump.

Gonzalez and the state Democratic Party have sought to link Baker to the president by pointing to the governor’s endorsement of the full Republican ticket in Massachusetts, which includes U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Geoff Diehl, an active surrogate for the Trump campaign in 2016.

About 21 percent had a favorable view of Gonzalez, with 9 percent viewing him unfavorably and 38 percent saying they had never heard of him.

The poll also reflected limited name recognition for Warren’s two challengers, Diehl and independent candidate Shiva Ayyadurai.

Nearly 45 percent said they had never heard of Diehl, who prevailed in his party’s three-way primary in September. Fifteen percent viewed him favorably and 13 percent unfavorably. Almost 65 percent had never heard of Ayyadurai, whom 8 percent viewed favorably and 6 percent unfavorably.

Only six people said they had never heard of Warren, who had a favorability of 57 percent to 35 percent unfavorable. The breakdown was nearly identical when respondents were asked if they approve or disapprove of her job performance.

Fifty-four percent said they would vote for Warren or leaned toward voting for her, while 24 percent were with Diehl and 6 percent with Ayyadurai.

Of the three statewide ballot questions, the poll found the highest level of support for upholding the state’s 2016 transgender anti-discrimination law, with 73 percent saying they would vote yes on Question 3. Seventeen percent said they would vote no, and 9 percent were undecided.

Almost 52 percent said they would vote yes on Question 1 to limit the number of patients assigned to each nurse in hospitals, with 33 percent against it and 15 percent undecided.

On Question 2, which would create a commission to advance a constitutional amendment to limit the influence of money in elections, 72 percent said they’d vote yes and 20 percent no.

The poll, which has a 4.4 percentage point margin of error and was conducted between Sept. 13 and Sept. 17, also asked Democrats and unenrolled voters if they would back U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Salem if he challenged Sen. Ed Markey in the 2020 Democratic primary, but those results have not yet been released.

Also held for future release were the respondents’ opinions on whether five Massachusetts Democrats — Moulton, Warren, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, former Gov. Deval Patrick and former U.S. Sen. John Kerry — should run for president in 2020.


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