Charlie Baker Says He’s Not Worried About Republicans Not Liking Him 

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Lame duck governor Charlie Baker knows that a lot of Republicans in Massachusetts don’t like him.

But he’s not too worried about it, he recently said. 

Baker made it known when answering a question at the school’s 2022 Godkin Lecture hosted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School on Thursday, November 3.

A Harvard student asked Baker if he is worried about political polarization within the Massachusetts Republican Party and what he is doing to address those concerns.

Baker dismissed the Republicans, largely conservatives, who don’t approve of him, arguing that they are a tiny portion of the electorate and that it’s a better use of his time to not focus on them.

“Yeah, there’s a ton of problem with polarization within the Republican Party in Massachusetts,” Baker said. “But, again, I come back to 60 percent of the electorate in Massachusetts are registered independents. And 10 percent of the electorate are Republicans, right? Now, 10 percent of the electorate in absolute terms is kind of a big number. It’s like 350,000 people, O.K.? I think I saw a poll the other day that said we have a favorability rating with like 55 percent of those people.”

“All right. So 55 percent of the 350 which is probably like 175-180,000 have a positive, favorable view of Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito, right?” Baker added. “That wing of the party. So the other 45 percent don’t. Now you’re talking about 160,000 people in a state with 4 million voters. Who should I be worried about? Who should I focus on? The 3.85 million voters who see the world at least sort of the way I see it or the 170,000 who don’t?”

As Baker points out, he had a 73 percent approval rating in a UMass Lowell poll released three weeks ago; 27 percent said they disapproved of him. However, the group least supportive of him was registered Republicans. While 79 percent of Democrats approved of Baker’s job performance (21 percent disapproved), and 72 percent of unenrolled voters approved (28 percent disapproved), his approval rating among Republicans was far lower — at 57 percent (43 percent disapproved).

As of the 2022 midterm election, there were 4,884,076 registered voters in Massachusetts, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. Unenrolleds comprised the largest total, at 60.44 percent (2,951,863), followed by Democrats at 29.46 percent (1,438,607), then Republicans at 8.95 percent (437,211), and members of third parties at 1.15 percent (56,395).

Baker said that one reason why some Republican voters don’t like him is that he never supported former President Donald Trump – which he said is something he will never do.

“Even within that 170,000, there’s a bunch of people in there who I like and who I sort of get along with on certain things,” Baker said. “But there’s bridges that I just can’t cross. The election, the 2020 election, I can’t cross that bridge. Joe Biden won that election fair and square. Period. I can’t go there on Donald Trump. I just can’t go there for all kinds of reasons. And that’s unfortunate, O.K.? But there’s 3.8 million other voters in Massachusetts who we can talk to.”

Although Massachusetts has no term limits for governor, Baker chose not to run for a third term this year. Before he made that decision not to run, he had drawn a primary challenge from former state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), who ended up losing the governor’s race to Democratic attorney general Maura Healey. 


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