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NH Looks to Return Hassan to Senate, Mass. Poised to Reaffirm Democratic Roots

Findings from UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion also show overwhelming support for abortion rights transcending political party

Winding road flanked by trees ablaze with fall foliage

11/03/2022

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.

Massachusetts and New Hampshire voters agree the country is on the wrong track citing political turmoil, current events and cultural phenomena as driving their negative perspectives, according to polls released Thursday by UMass Lowell.

“Voters across the political spectrum share a lack of optimism,” said political science Associate Professor John Cluverius, director of survey research at the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion.

New Hampshire Senate: Hassan holds 10-point lead over Republican challenger

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.

Biden vs. Trump: Round Two?

Four in five New Hampshire (80%) and Massachusetts (81%) voters do not believe they can trust the federal government to do the right thing. “This lack of trust makes it difficult to build consensus around basic facts, most notably, election outcomes,” 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. 

However, the political similarities end there. When asked to identify the legitimate winner of the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, a majority of Massachusetts (76%) and New Hampshire (68%) Republicans claimed Trump was the legitimate winner two years ago while nearly half of Massachusetts (45%) and New Hampshire (37%) Democrats claim Hilary Clinton was the legitimate winner in 2016. 

The Massachusetts figure reflects a 5% increase since the same question was put to respondents of the June 2022 Center for Public Opinion poll. Cluverius characterized these latest results as “extremely worrying trends.” 

“Growing political polarization and questions about election legitimacy continue to cast a cloud over American elections,” said political science Professor Joshua Dyck, director of the Center for Public Opinion. “The fashionable stance of partisans questioning election outcomes, favoring voter suppression, and making claims of voter fraud when there is no evidence, has had a devastating effect on the single most important cornerstone of democracy – unsuccessful candidates consenting to the peaceful transfer of power and recognizing the legitimacy of leaders for whom they did not vote.”

Abortion: MA, NH push for universal access

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 

A majority of New Hampshire (52%) and half (50%) of Massachusetts voters have either had the procedure or know someone who has.

Winter outlook: Budget concerns top of mind for many  

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. Six in 10 such Massachusetts residents and slightly more New Hampshire denizens (62%) expect the next six months to be harder on their pocketbooks than the last six. The majority of those who believe the economic tides are shifting are Republican – 73% in both states.

Massachusetts ballot questions: Taxing millionaires and the right to a driver’s license

There are four ballot questions Massachusetts residents will be voting on statewide this November. These are the two with possible national consequences:

  • Question 1: Nicknamed the “Millionaire’s Tax,” if passed, this measure would establish an additional 4% state income tax on that portion of annual taxable income in excess of $1 million. Support for the measure is nearly double opposition (61% to 34%), with those in favor representing all demographic categories queried. Nine out of 10 self-identified liberals support the measure while nearly three-quarters of self-identified Republicans (73%) are in opposition.
  • Question 4: If passed, this law would reaffirm existing legislation allowing Massachusetts residents who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a standard driver’s license or learner’s permit if they meet all other qualifications for a standard license or learner’s permit, including a road test and insurance, and provide proof of their identity, date of birth, and residency. More than half (53%) of respondents plan to affirm the legislation while 39% say they will vote to repeal, denying driver’s licenses to people living in the country illegally. Support for Question 4 is highest among voters aged 18-44 (61%) and those with a college degree (60%) while support falls to 47% among older respondents and 32% from those without a degree. Of all four ballot initiatives put forward to Massachusetts voters, Question 4 reported the fewest number of undecideds.

“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,” said Cluverius. “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.”

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