More Massachusetts Residents Think State Is On The Wrong Track, Poll Says

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Forty-eight percent said the state is heading in the right direction, down from 59 percent in a similar poll done for the business group a year ago. Thirty-nine percent say the state is on the wrong track, up from 29 percent.

The poll showed favorable opinions of Governor Maura Healey slipping to 54 percent from 60 percent a year ago. A recent Morning Consult poll still had her with a 59 percent approval rating among voters.

In the Retailers Association of Massachusetts poll, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu also saw a favorability decline to 47 percent from 53 percent. (The mayor remains popular among the city’s registered voters; a poll from last month showed 57 percent feel she is doing a good job.)

“Pocketbook concerns still dominate the issue landscape — especially the cost of living, the affordability of health care, energy and housing, and the overall economy,” Ernest Paicopolos, of Polity Research Consulting, wrote in a memo to the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “Also, compared with last year, voters are less likely to think business competitiveness is a very important issue.”

Paicopolos said the poll also showed majorities backing cuts to the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax and to local property taxes. Forty-nine percent supported keeping the state’s 5 percent income tax the same, while 39 percent said it should be cut.

Polity Research Consulting surveyed 600 registered Massachusetts voters between April 17 and April 22. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Polity, which is based in Andover and has a client list that includes business groups and a local law firm, conducted both the 2024 and 2023 polls. The 2023 poll was not previously released to the public, and shared with just the board of the retailers group, which says it has 4,000 members. The results from the two polls were released ahead of “Small Business Day,” scheduled for Wednesday, May 15 on Beacon Hill.

Asked about state government spending, voters fell into differing camps, with 34 percent saying Beacon Hill spends too much, 31 saying government spends about the right amount, and 22 percent saying not enough is spent.

The 2024 poll also asked about a Colorado law that requires state government to refund “excess revenue” to taxpayers. If a similar law was proposed as a ballot question, 38 percent said they would “definitely vote” in favor, while 39 percent told Polity they would “probably” vote in favor of it.

Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said it’s unlikely that his group would file such a proposal as a ballot question. 

“But there is growing informal debate throughout the collective employer community about whether the only way to stop certain special interests from hurting our competitiveness through ballot questions is for us to get in that public policy arena on behalf of what is needed to keep the Commonwealth attractive for investment and growth,” Hurst said in an email message. “Questions which hurt the consistency and accountability of our schools, the viability of our small businesses with new mandates, and which hurt investment and competitiveness with tax increases have to be fought better going forward.”


This article first appeared on CommonWealth Beacon and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.


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