Gov. Charlie Baker's approval rating is moving in a positive direction as he weighs whether to seek a third term in 2022, with 56% of residents indicating that they support the job Baker is doing and 69% saying Massachusetts is the same or better off than it was prior to the governor taking office in 2015, according to a new UMass Amherst/WCVB poll.
Baker's approval number still trails the 78% peak he reached in August 2020, but he is up four percentage points from March, when UMass and WCVB conducted a similar survey.
Baker has not yet decided if he will run again next year, but he is potentially facing competition from both the left and right with three Democrats and one Republican so far in the gubernatorial race.
"Gov. Baker remains a singularly popular Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state," said poll director Tatishe Nteta, associate professor of political science at UMass Amherst. "While his approval is down from the record highs seen in 2020, a majority of the residents of the commonwealth approve of the job that he has done in office and his approval rating have rebounded from March of 2021, when he faced criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and his support for continued restrictions on businesses in the commonwealth."
The poll showed Baker continues to struggle with members of his own party, particularly conservative Republicans, while Democrats and independents consistently have a higher opinion of the moderate GOP governor.
Only 41% of GOP voters said they approved of the job Baker was doing and 49% said he had fallen short of their expectation, compared to his 65% approval rating among Democrats and 48% among unenrolled voters.
Seventy-four percent of respondents who identified as moderate said they thought Baker was doing a good job, and his approval rating was higher (58%) among people of color than among whites (54%).
Sixty-seven percent of respondents said Baker was handling the pandemic well, up seven points from the spring, and 59% approved of his handling of the economy. Overall, 50% said Massachusetts was moving in the right direction, and the Legislature's pandemic response approval rating fell at 59%.
While Baker's numbers were creeping up in the new poll, President Joe Biden's support in Massachusetts was weakening, with the president's approval rating in the state falling five points from March to 56%, and his disapproval numbers up seven points to 41%. The UMass Amherst/WCVB poll surveyed 750 Massachusetts residents between Nov. 9 and Nov. 16, and had a margin of error of 4.3%.