Mayor Walsh Leads by 31 points with Affordable Housing a Key Issue

A new Emerson College poll finds Boston Mayor Marty Walsh enjoying sky high popularity, with a 72% favorable opinion among those surveyed in Boston, and a 31 point lead in the primary scheduled for September 26. The poll of likely voters has Walsh at 52% with his closest competition, Councilor Tito Jackson at 21%, 16% are still undecided.

Jackson enjoys a 43% favorable ranking and a 33% unfavorable, which would in most circumstances make him a viable candidate. Yet, with Walsh’s 72%/18% numbers, Jackson faces a steep uphill climb to overtake the Mayor.

Most troubling for Jackson is the poll finds him losing his home district 44% to 30% and the African-American vote breaks for Walsh nearly 3:1 (66% to 21%). Encouraging for Jackson is that he leads among 18-34 year olds 37% to 17%, but trails 35-74 year olds by about 35 points. Jackson trails Walsh among those over 75 by 54 points (65% to 11%). It is important to remember that subsets based on district, age and party breakdowns carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced.

In a hypothetical general election match-up, Walsh leads Jackson 55% to 26%, with 19% of registered voters still undecided.

On key issues, 38% of voters said they were less safe now than they were a year ago, while 30% felt they were safer. Similarly 33% of voters said they are worse off financially than they were a year ago, with 29% saying they are better off now as compared to a year ago.

Regarding the issues related to the city, 38% said Boston is overdeveloped, while 15% said it was under-developed. When it came to the cost of housing, 71% of voters said Boston was unaffordable, while 22% said the city’s housing was affordable. It appears the issue of over development is the most effective topic for Jackson – he only trails Walsh by 12 points – 41% to 29% with voters who think the city is overdeveloped.

Voters were supportive of a potential law in Massachusetts requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns, with 66% supporting the requirement and 19% opposing. Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters support all candidates for office to disclose their tax returns as a prerequisite to running for office.

The Emerson College Polling Society, under the supervision of Professor Spencer Kimball is pleased to present the findings from a poll of already/likely Voters in Boston, Massachusetts, for the Mayoral Election September 26, 2017 and of registered voters for the November 7 General Election. All respondents interviewed in this study were part of a fully representative sample using an area probabilistic sample of registered voters from Aristotle International. The overall sample size was N= 529 with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points in 19 of 20 cases. In the Primary the sample was n= 396 with a MOE of +/- 4.9 percentage points. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age and party breakdowns carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only and was conducted September 14-16, 2017.

This survey uses statistical weighting procedures to account for deviations in the survey sample from known population characteristics, which helps correct for differential survey participation and random variation in samples. The overall adult sample is weighted to recent Census and voting behavior data using a sample balancing procedure to match the demographic makeup with district, party affiliation, ethnicity, age and gender. Margins of sampling error for this survey are not adjusted for design effect.

Transparency Initiative