Poll: Baker, Warren maintain large leads over challengers

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Republican Governor Charlie Baker and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren are cruising into their re-election campaigns with commanding leads, a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll shows.

The poll, released Thursday afternoon, shows Baker leading his two potential Democratic challengers, Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie by 52-22% and 54-20% respectively. The poll shows the governor remains popular, with 60% approving of the job he is doing, and 64% of voters viewing the Republican favorably.

The governor remains extremely popular, even in a state where only 11% of voters are members of the Republican Party. The nation’s most prominent Republican, President Donald Trump, is unpopular here, with 62% of respondents having an unfavorable view of him, with 32% viewing him favorably. The poll shows, however, that Baker has been able to keep his distance from the president in the minds of many voters. According to the survey, 59% of Massachusetts voters view Baker as an “anti-Trump” Republican, 14% saying he is “pro-Trump” and 11% saying that he is neither.

Also helping the governor in the polls is the fact that most viewers do not know much about the Democratic candidates. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they had never heard of Gonzalez, and 50% had never heard of Massie.

Baker still faces a challenge from the right, in the form of Springfield pastor Scott Lively, who secured more than enough delegates at the Republican state convention to gain ballot access in September’s primary. Like the Democratic candidates for governor, however, Lively remains unknown to most Massachusetts voters, with 62% of respondents in the poll saying that they had never heard of him. A little more than 6% of voters said they view Lively favorably, 10% said they view him unfavorably, and nearly 21% remain undecided about him.

Warren, meanwhile, leads Republican challengers Geoff Diehl 55-33%, Beth Lindstrom 56-31%, and John Kingston 54-30%. Fifty-four percent of Massachusetts voters approve of the job Warren is doing in the Senate, and 57% of voters view her favorably overall. Most Massachusetts voters still know very little about Warren’s GOP challengers, with 58% of respondents never having heard of Geoff Diehl, 61% who never heard of Lindstrom, and 66% never having heard of John Kingston.

The poll also found strong support for two ballot questions dealing with taxes. On the question of whether Massachusetts should create a so-called “Millionaire’s Tax”- a 4% surcharge on those who annually earn $1 million or more- 66% said they were in favor, with only 26% opposed.

Voters also expressed support for reducing the state sales tax from the current 6.25% to 4.5% and create a permanent sales tax holiday. That measure is favored by nearly 52% of voters, and opposed by 38%.

Additional poll results found 66% of residents would support increasing the minimum wage by $1 each year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2022. The margin is much closer, however, on a ballot question that would repeal the law allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom or locker room facilities that correspond with their gender identities, regardless of their gender at birth. Nearly 49% of voters say that they would oppose repealing the protections, while 37% said they would support a repeal.

The poll was a telephone survey using both land line and cell phones, and involved 500 voters across Massachusetts.

Click here for a closer look at the poll results.

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