Some new polling from WBUR on the 2018 race for Governor and Senator in Massachusetts - and little has changed in the past several months. Both Governor Baker and Senator Warren are in strong positions for reelection.
Name recognition and favorablity are key to winning a statewide election and both Baker and Warren have considerable advantages over their largely unknown rivals. In head to head match-ups, both candidates have significant double digit leads.
It remains early, but I would not be surprised if the Massachusetts Democratic Party does not work that hard to oppose Governor Baker's reelection - he is moderate to liberal on the social wedge issues that drives the "resistance" to the national GOP. I don't expect him to win by the 30 or so points that he is currently ahead by in the WBUR poll against his potential rivals - but he is likely to win by a still comfortable 5 to 10 point margin.
The WBUR poll finds that Baker is seen as doing relatively well on the major state issues with some voter angst continuing around the MBTA, health costs and the cost of housing. However, the negatives are not high enough (at this point) to seriously threaten his popularity and likely reelection.
He has successfully kept his distance from President Trump and voters seem to be well aware of that. Opposition to President Trump will certainly help whomever the Democratic nominee is, but unless Baker is faced by an unforeseen crisis that is handled poorly he will be largely inoculated against the coming blue wave which will greatly erode the GOP's representation in both state capitols and Washington DC. Credit both his bipartisanship and likable easygoing manner that contrasts well against the more bombastic members of the GOP.
Elizabeth Warren, while divisive nationally, remains a very strong favorite for reelection. Her potential opposition is largely unknown and whomever is nominated will be severely underfunded. Warren has a burgeoning war chest and will be able to raise money from a national network of doners. She may suffer a bit as a 2020 presidential run (despite a recent denial) may be pending and would begin next year.
State Rep Geoff Diehl is likely to be her opponent. As he chaired Trump's 2016 campaign in the Bay State, I would be surprised if he breaks 40% of the vote. I think there will be a lot of split ticket voting for Baker and Warren.
There continues to be strong support for the four proposed ballot measures.
- Nearly 80% support raising the state's minimum wage to $15 per hour.
- Recent polling shows large majorities in favor of both enacting a millionaire's surtax and reducing the state sales tax from 6.5% to 5%. (interesting how the public seems to support cutting their own taxes and raising other people's taxes - BL)
- A strong majority support enacting mandatory paid family leave.
Congressional Massachusetts Races
Massachusetts politics are different from national politics - we are essentially a one party state in most circumstances, but have a penchant to electing liberal Republicans to the governor's office on occasion. But as the Bluest State expect the all Democratic Massachusetts delegation in the House to win overwhelmingly (several of the incumbents will run unopposed) and the open Third District Congressional Seat held by the retiring Nicki Tsongas will be won by whichever Democrat who wins the party primary this September. With the national GOP held in low regard by most voters it will be the labor of Sisyphus for any Republican Congressional candidate to gain any traction here.
More as the year winds on...