BOSTON (State House News Service) — As Gov. Maura Healey's term in office gets underway, 42 percent of Bay Staters have a favorable opinion of her but almost as many people either have not made up their mind about the new governor or have never heard of her, a new MassINC Polling Group survey found.
Favorable opinions of Healey outweigh unfavorable opinions two-to-one (42 percent favorable, 21 percent unfavorable), but 22 percent of respondents said they have heard of Healey but are undecided as to how they feel about her and another 15 percent said they had not heard of her. The poll was based on online survey responses from 986 Massachusetts residents between Jan. 30 and Feb. 2.
A similar poll that MassINC conducted of registered voters a year ago found that 44 percent of people viewed Healey favorably with 19 percent holding an unfavorable opinion, 17 percent undecided and 20 percent having never heard of her. Outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker registered 60 percent favorable opinions and just 13 percent undecided after seven years in the corner office.
The latest MassINC poll also shed light on the issues that Massachusetts residents think should be the priorities for Healey and state lawmakers. The economy and jobs ranked as the most pressing issue, being mentioned by 19 percent of respondents. After that came housing costs and homelessness (18 percent), inflation and cost of living (16 percent), and public safety (15 percent).
While Healey has said that the affordability of Massachusetts is "the number one concern I have" and has said she will tackle the state's persistent housing problems, other issues she has championed ranked much lower on Bay Staters' priority list, like transportation and infrastructure (7 percent) and climate change/environment (4 percent).
The favorability of other Massachusetts and national political figures was also gauged. Respondents were split on President Joe Biden -- 43 percent view him favorably and 42 percent view him unfavorably; and 59 percent said he should not run for a second term as president. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren also had a relatively narrow gap between favorables (41 percent) and unfavorables (36 percent). And U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, who is now the number two Democrat in the U.S. House, is unknown to 51 percent of Bay Staters -- more people here (75 percent) have heard of embattled New York Congressman George Santos than Clark (45 percent).
Written by Colin A. Young/SHNS