Poll asks state voters about upcoming election

State House News Service
Thursday, June 14, 2018

Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and efforts to impose a higher minimum wage and a new income surtax all remain popular with less than five months to go until the November elections, according to a new Suffolk University poll, which forecast a tighter contest around the potential repeal of a transgender public accommodations law.

The survey of 500 likely voters, released Thursday and conducted between June 8 and June 12, found more than 66 percent of respondents back ballot questions that would gradually raise the $11 minimum wage to $15 an hour and institute a surtax of 4 percent on incomes over $1 million to fund transportation and education.

A Supreme Judicial Court decision could keep the so-called millionaire’s tax off the ballot, and legislative action could preempt the minimum wage hike.

Another ballot question would repeal a law Baker signed in July 2016 that allows transgender people to use public facilities, including restrooms and locker rooms, that correspond with their gender identity, regardless of their sex at birth. The poll found 48.8 percent were against repeal, with 37.2 percent in favor of repeal and 12.8 percent undecided.

The poll also asked about a ballot question lowering the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax to 4.5 percent, an option retailers had considered before deciding to pursue an initiative to bring the sales tax down to 5 percent. Almost 52 percent said they would vote for a question imposing a 4.5 percent sales tax and mandating a two-day sales tax holiday each August.

More than 59 percent of respondents said they considered Baker an “anti-Trump” Republican, while 13.6 percent saw him as “pro-Trump” — figures that may work in his favor as the poll also gave Baker a 63.6 percent favorability rating, compared to President Donald Trump’s 32.2 percent.

The two Democrats vying to unseat Baker, Bob Massie and Jay Gonzalez, remain largely unknown after the June 2 convention where Gonzalez received the state Democratic Party’s endorsement, the poll shows.