Poll: Voter discontent with Trump, Cruz runs deep in Massachusetts
By State House News Service | April 12, 2016, 9:31 EDT
Massachusetts voters gave Republican Donald Trump a big win in the Bay State presidential primary on March 1, but the New York businessman badly trails Democrats Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in hypothetical November matchups.
A statewide Western New England University Polling Institute survey of 497 registered voters showed Trump, the GOP frontrunner, and his challenger Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas getting trounced in Massachusetts.
Clinton leads Trump 62 percent to 26 percent and Cruz, 63 percent to 30 percent. Sanders has larger margins, 70 percent to 23 percent against Trump and 71 percent to 24 percent against Cruz.
But when asked who they thought would win the presidency in November, 53 percent said Clinton, while 14 percent said Trump and 7 percent said Sanders. Twenty-two percent responded “don’t know.”
Only 18 percent of those surveyed held a favorable view of Trump, including 6 percent of Democrats, 12 percent of women, and 43 percent of Republicans — 51 percent of Republicans surveyed held an unfavorable view of Trump.
Cruz is also struggling in Massachusetts, with 18 percent of voters viewing him favorably, and 66 percent unfavorably, the poll found. Among Massachusetts Republicans, Cruz is viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by 40 percent.
Clinton, the former U.S. senator and secretary of state, edged Sanders in the Massachusetts primary. Sanders has dealt her a string of primary losses lately, although Clinton leads in the overall delegate count.
Clinton’s Bay State favorability rating dropped 6 points, to 46 percent, compared to the institute’s October poll, and her unfavorability rose 5 points to 46 percent. Sanders’ favorability rose 15 points from October, to 63 percent; 27 percent view him unfavorably, up 4 points from October.
According to the polling institute, Democratic presidential nominees have carried Massachusetts by margins of 23 to 27 percentage points in each cycle since 2000.
In 1996, Democrat Bill Clinton won Massachusetts by 33 points over Republican Robert Dole. In 1964, Democrat Lyndon Johnson carried Massachusetts by 53 points over Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater.
The telephone survey was conducted between April 1 and April 10, with results released Tuesday. Pollsters said Clinton’s lead over Trump is about the same as in an October 2015 survey while Sanders has grown his advantage over Trump by about 12 points since last October.
The April survey was the first to test Cruz in general election matchups.
Trump has grown more unpopular in Massachusetts, according to the poll, with 75 percent of respondents viewing him unfavorably, up seven points from October.
“These findings are simply a reflection of the current state of the race,” Tim Vercellotti, director of the Polling Institute and a professor of political science at the university, said in a statement. “The data show deep discontent among Massachusetts voters when it comes to the leading candidates for the Republican nomination.”
Regarding Clinton, Vercellotti said, “The race for the Democratic nomination may be taking a toll on voters’ views of her.”
Sixty-eight percent of men viewed Sanders favorably, a 27-point-increase from October, while 59 percent of women viewed him favorably, up by 4 points from October. His unfavorability among women rose 16 points, to 28 percent, from October to April, while his unfavorability among men dropped 11 points to 26 percent.
About one-fifth of Republican voters surveyed said they would cross party lines and support either Clinton or Sanders over Trump or Cruz if the election were held now.
The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
— Written by Michael P. Norton
Copyright State House News Service