Full poll results can be accessed here.
WBUR June 2017 Poll
As one can see, name recognition is tied to having positive favorabilty (except in the case of Trump). Perhaps a challenger's biggest barrier to election is the inability to be a household name or at least as well known as the incumbent.
Head to Head
The head to head match-ups show Baker winning convincing (by over 20 points) against all announced challengers, but with a closer race (48-36) against as of yet undeclared candidate Maura Healey. As the sitting Attorney General she has already won statewide office and is relatively well known.
Senator Warren collects 60% plus of the vote in a hypothetical contest with either of her very unknown and pro-Trump Republican challengers. I would not expect to see that change as time goes on.
The poll's crosstabs reveal a few interesting tidbits:
- President Trump is viewed very unfavorably by all groups, but he breaks even with high school educated white males over 50 years of age in southeastern Massachusetts. Nationwide as in Massachusetts, this reflects his base of support.
- The gender gap is apparent.
- Senator Warren has overwhelming support among women, but split favorable/unfavorable with men.
- In a head to ahead against Baker, Maura Healey is even with women, but loses badly with men.
- Interestingly, men and women have very similar favorability for Baker. He seems to transcend the gender gap at least in personal favorability.
- People under age 29 have the highest rates of not having heard of a particular candidate.
- Democrats fare far better among those with graduate degrees.
- Regionally, Republicans do best in Southeastern Massachusetts; Democrats do relatively well inside the Rt 128 belt. No surprises.
The surtax question will win by a very large margin, but probably less than 80% - the poll figure seems just too out of the norm.
It is likely that the sales tax fight will be very close, especially since Massachusetts may be in a revenue shortfall. It is one of those questions that conceptually seems good, but its effects on education and state services may give many pause. Additionally, there will be massive organized opposition to this proposal and the opponents will outspend proponents.
There will be more polls as time goes on. Unless there is a major event that takes precedence, it is likely the results that we see today will be predictive in the case of Warren's reelection. I am hesitant to give Baker the same rating simply because he is a Republican in this overwhelmingly liberal state. I do think he will win, but not by the landslide that Warren will win by.