2013 Massachusetts Poll of Political issues:

Scott Brown Leads the Potential 2014 Massachusetts Governor Field According to New UMass Poll

June 11, 2013

Toplines: http://www.umass.edu/poll/pdfs/20130611_Toplines.pdf

AMHERST, Mass. – Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown leads all potential candidates in next year’s Massachusetts gubernatorial race, according to a new UMass Poll released today by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Brown’s closest theoretical competition would come from former Congressman Joseph Kennedy II, who wouldbe in a virtual tie with Brown, 42-41.
Respondents were asked about their likely vote choice in several head-to-head electoral contests between potential Republican and Democratic candidates, including Brown, Kennedy, former state Senator Richard Tisei (R), State Treasurer and Receiver Steve Grossman (D), U.S. Representative Michael Capuano (D), and former Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance Charlie Baker (R), who ran for governor in 2010.
Current Governor Deval Patrick has announced that he will not seek a third term in 2014, opening the field for the state’s highest office.
“Voters continue to have good feelings for Scott Brown, even after his 2012 Senate loss,” said Ray La Raja, associate director of the UMass Poll. “For a Democratic state like Massachusetts, Beacon Hill is a safer spot to put a well-liked Republican rather than next to Mitch McConnell in Washington.”
“Although he’s been out of office since 1999, former Representative Kennedy’s popularity demonstrates the continued electoral relevance of the Kennedy name in the minds of the state’s voters,” said Tatishe Nteta, associate director of the UMass Poll.
 “A Kennedy-Brown match-up poses an intriguing twist on political history in Massachusetts,” said La Raja. “On the Democratic side, you have political and economic aristocracy against a Republican with an image as the guy-next-store in the pickup.  That’s a far cry from a century ago when the Democrat Kennedys were seen as the Irish upstarts against the GOP Brahmins.”
Brown leads Grossman by 29 points (55-26), and Capuano by 12 (45-33).  Kennedy, who served in Congress for 12 years beginning in 1987, shows leads of seven (40-33) and 23 points (48-25) over Tisei and Baker, respectively.
“These are all experienced candidates and officeholders who have a shot at winning the governor’s office,” La Raja explained. “We don’t know who will win, but this poll represents the public’s thinking right now if these candidates squared off in a general election. Our poll suggests that some of the candidates who lag need to build their name brand quite a bit before the elections.
“Keep in mind that the campaigns haven’t begun, so voters gravitate toward names they know and like. Newcomers still have a chance as the campaigns heat up.”
“The worst news in this poll is probably for Charlie Baker,” said Brian Schaffner, director of the UMass Poll. “Despite the fact that he should have fairly high name recognition from his run for governor in 2010, his support doesn’t break 26 percent in any of the potential match-ups.”
The UMass Poll is committed to studying public opinion in Massachusetts and the United States to inform policy making in the Commonwealth and beyond. It is directed by Brian Schaffner along with associate directors Ray La Raja, Tatishe Nteta and Maryann Barakso.
This poll of 500 registered Massachusetts voters was conducted May 30 to June 4 by YouGov America under the direction of UMass Poll at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (www.umass.edu/poll). YouGov was rated as one of the most accurate pollsters of the 2012 election by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com. The margin of error for the poll is 5.4 percent.

Jared Sharpe, 413/545-3809, jsharpe@admin.umass.edu
Brian Schaffner, schaffne@polsci.umass.edu
Raymond La Raja, laraja@polsci.umass.edu
Tatishe Nteta, nteta@polsci.umass.edu
Jesse Rhodes, rhodes@polsci.umass.edu