Media contacts: Emily Gowdey-Backus, Emily_GowdeyBackus@uml.edu; Nancy Cicco, Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu
Detailed poll results and analysis are available at www.uml.edu/polls.
Amid deep set polarization, looming economic concerns and the retirement of a long-popular governor, Democrats may sweep all four Massachusetts constitutional positions in the 2022 midterm election, according to the latest findings of UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion.
“Maura Healey is set to break the curse that has bedeviled sitting attorneys general for more than half a century,” said political science Associate Professor John Cluverius, director of survey research at the Center for Public Opinion.
Attorney General Healey’s lead over former state Rep. Geoff Diehl stands at 59% to Diehl’s 32%, while Libertarian Kevin Reed polled at 3% in the race for governor. Less than .5% of likely Massachusetts voters say they support another candidate and 6% remained undecided two weeks ahead of the midterm.
A June 2022 UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion poll reported a similar margin, even as many more mid-summer respondents reported being undecided.
Healey leads Diehl across all income, race, gender, education and age categories. Men favor Healey 50% to 39% while women favor Healey 66% to 26%.
Fellow Massachusetts Democrats also lead in each of the three additional statewide races:
- Attorney general: Former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell leads with 55% to attorney Jay McMahon’s 28%. (16% undecided)
- Secretary of state: Democratic incumbent Bill Galvin holds at 58% vs. activist Rayla Campbell’s 24% and Green/Rainbow care worker Juan Sanchez’s 3%. (15% undecided)
- State auditor: In what was expected to be the closest of the statewide races, Diana DiZoglio leads security professional Anthony Amore 44% to 29%. All other candidates in the state auditor’s race have less than 5% support. (19% undecided)
Earlier elections this year paired running mates Kim Driscoll with Healey and Leah Cole Allen with Diehl as nominees for lieutenant governor and therefore not polled in the latest Center for Public Opinion findings.
Even though he is set to retire, and Democrats may likely sweep the state-level midterms, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker remains popular among both parties. Uniting Bay Staters, he is more popular among Democrats (82%) than he is his own party (57%).
Polarization unites Massachusetts residents as “Tax-achusetts” moniker lives on
“Thanksgiving may be fraught this year as families unite after two years of pandemic restrictions over dinner only to quarrel when the conversation turns to the midterms over dessert,” said Cluverius of the division noted among Bay Staters in the latest poll findings.
When it comes to the four ballot initiatives put to Massachusetts voters this year, Republicans are overwhelmingly urging a No vote on all four initiatives while their Democrat counterparts are encouraging the opposite. Breaking it down:
With a 5 percentage-point split, Question 3 stands out as the closest electoral contest in the Center for Public Opinion’s 2022 midterm poll. It also reflects a noticeable age gap in which voters aged 18-44 are in support (51% vs. 37%) and those over 45 are evenly split at 41%. Watching it closely, Cluverius said, given 15% of respondents reporting indecision, and the amount of money backing the No side, Question 3 is the only ballot question of the four with a good chance of failing.
“A classic David vs. Goliath ballot initiative,” said political science Professor Joshua Dyck, director of the Center for Public Opinion. “Question 3 pits a coalition of local business owners against the corporate behemoth Total Wine. This is a very familiar setup where big money can often raise doubts and encourage No votes in the last days of an initiative campaign. It will take a substantial campaign effort from the Yes side to stem the tide.”
Regarding the final statewide ballot initiative, Cluverius said: “Opponents of driver’s licenses for people living in the country illegally in Massachusetts have one person to blame for the strong Yes numbers on Question 4: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Relocating migrants to Martha’s Vineyard made voters in Massachusetts more sympathetic to those seeking a better life in America and suspicious of outside interference in the state.”
New Hampshire: Democrats in Washington, Republicans in Concord
Splitting their ballots, the data suggest likely New Hampshire voters will return a Democrat to the U.S. Senate while re-electing a Republican to lead the state as governor.
While less than half of New Hampshire voters approve of President Joe Biden’s performance and nearly seven out of 10 characterize the country as heading in the wrong direction, Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan holds a 51% to 41% lead over her Republican opponent, retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc.
Education levels among voters separate the candidates. Among respondents with a college degree, Hassan leads 63% to 32% whereas Bolduc leads 48% to 42% among respondents without a college degree.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu leads his opponent, Democratic state Sen. Tom Sherman 51% to 35%. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Granite State respondents approve of Sununu’s performance. However, in what may be the largest hurdle for Sherman, two weeks out from the midterm, more than one quarter (26%) of respondents had no opinion of him while 16% reported never hearing of him.
“These are tough numbers for a challenger in the closing weeks of an election,” said Cluverius.
With near identical outlooks, and resounding agreement the country is on the wrong track, political turmoil, current events and cultural phenomena drive the perspectives of neighboring Massachusetts and New Hampshire voters.
“Voters across the political spectrum share a lack of optimism,” said Cluverius.
If history were to repeat itself and Joseph Biden and Donald Trump found themselves in a rematch in 2024, both New Hampshire (49%) and Massachusetts (58%) voters would return the Democrat to office.
The winter of 2022-2023 may prove to be a season of economic concern and inflation scares for both Massachusetts and New Hampshire residents. But the breakdown is hardest on those with lower incomes. As home heating prices double and triple across the globe, residents of both states earning less than $50,000 annually say they expect it will be more difficult to afford regular monthly payments such as housing, utilities, food, medical care or car payments over the next six months.
At 77% and 78%, respectively, New Hampshire and Massachusetts voters support the right for a woman to receive an abortion in every state of the nation. This support transcends political party:
- 59% of New Hampshire Republicans, 98% of Democrats and 71% of independents
- 52% of Massachusetts Republicans, 94% of Democrats and 69% of independents
To read the full questionnaire, topline results and access the detailed methodology disclosure, please visit uml.edu/polls. The polls were conducted among 1,000 Massachusetts and 600 New Hampshire likely voters between Oct. 14 and Oct. 25. The Massachusetts data has a +/-4.1 percentage-point margin of error and the New Hampshire data has a +/-5.1 percentage-point margin of error.
About the Center for Public Opinion
The Center for Public Opinion presents events and polling on political and social issues to provide opportunities for civic engagement, experiential learning and real-world research. The center is a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative.
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe. www.uml.edu