Maura Healey out front in UMass Lowell poll; voters uneasy and blaming politicians

Maura Healey out front in UMass Lowell poll; voters uneasy and blaming politicians

A new poll from UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion shows the race for the governor’s office is Attorney General Maura Healey’s to lose but that voters are very displeased at the moment and blame politicians in strength.

“This election isn’t over, but Democrats have the high ground,” John Cluverius, associate professor and associate director of the center, said with the poll’s release.

The poll shows the attorney general — who is leading her dominant opponent, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, by a wide margin — up over either possible Republican candidate by 28 points or more.

Healey leads former state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who is the party nominee and former President Donald Trump’s pick for the office, 61% to 30%, with 9% undecided or supporting another candidate. Wrentham businessman Chris Doughty also surveys at 30%, but Healey’s sustain drops by three points.

Doughty’s campaign responded to the poll with optimism, saying it showed they were gaining momentum.

“In a very short time, we have gone from behind to tied to ahead. We are the campaign with the growing momentum that can defeat Maura Healey,” said Holly Robichaud, spokesperson for Doughty.

“We are launching in the next few days radio and television commercials that will help us close the gap with Healey, who has proven to be completely tone deaf on the pain people are feeling at the pump. Voters want an outsider who will make Massachusetts affordable,” Robichaud said.

Amanda Orlando, Diehl’s campaign manager, said that it’s too soon to be calling the game.

“The race is nevertheless early and very winnable. Our campaign is confident that when voters estimate the different visions Geoff Diehl and Maura Healey have for our state, they will conclude that Geoff Diehl is the best candidate to rule Massachusetts forward,” she said.

Any Democratic candidate is going to have to deal with the fact their party controls the levers of strength nationally, and voters everywhere are feeling the effects of inflation, she additional.

“The poll also clearly shows voter frustration with ‘politicians and their policies’ driving up consumer prices. The Democrat playbook this year is clear —- higher taxes, more government spending and reduced freedom for Massachusetts residents,” she said.

Professor Joshua Dyck, center director, said the poll shows a large number of respondents are feeling “real economic distress.”

According to the poll, nearly 29% of respondents had difficulty making ends meet in May. That number was higher, 58%, for those who made less than $50,000 yearly.

The poll shows that most respondents haven’t bought the explanation of the politicians that supply chains and a war in Ukraine are to blame for inflation, and instead blame the politicians themselves, with only 17% trusting the federal government to do what is right “all the time.”

The poll also shows wide divisions along party lines. Half of Democrats said they believed Hillary Clinton won the presidency in 2016, and 71% of Republicans think the same of Trump in 2020. Most Republicans see no value in masking and aren’t worried about COVID-19, while most Democrats are concerned and see masking in a positive light.

Breaking with the national parties, about 80% of respondents said there should be at the minimum some legal protections for abortion rights.

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