New Statewide Poll on Housing and Monica Tibbits-Nutt’s Tax Policies

Measures Opinions on Housing Issues, Taxes, the Migrant Crisis, and More

The Fiscal Alliance Foundation released the results of a new statewide poll today that sampled 750 Massachusetts likely voters. The poll mainly focused on housing policies being debated at the State House and in the local communities across the state. The poll also includes several questions based on Governor Maura Healey’s Transportation Secretary, Monica Tibbits-Nutt’s comments on potentially raising taxes and fees. Like other polls from the Fiscal Alliance Foundation, the poll also gauges favorable and unfavorables for several federal and statewide Massachusetts elected officials.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s overall favorability stands at 51% and unfavorable at 41%. Meanwhile, Governor Healey’s overall favorable numbers stand at 51%, and unfavorable at 36%. When voters were asked if the state is heading in the right direction, only 40% said it is, while 43% said it’s heading in the wrong direction. Among Democratic voters, right direction stood at 63% and wrong direction at 19%. Among Republican voters, right direction came in at 8% and wrong direction at 78%. Among unenrolled voters, 30% said right direction and 53% said wrong direction.

The poll asked four questions dealing with housing, the first of which concerned Governor Healey’s bill to create a new “real estate transfer fee” tax. The Governor’s tax proposal only received 28% support, with a majority not supporting it at 55% and 17% unsure. While a plurality of Democratic voters support the Governor’s tax at 45%, it still didn’t receive majority support amongst that cohort. Republicans and unenrolled voters were much more decisive in their opposition, with 83% of Republicans opposed, and 65% of unenrolled voters opposed.

When voters were asked if they would support “paying more for housing in order to enact net zero emission policies,” that question received a chilly response with only 24% support and 60% opposed. The poll also asked voters to gauge their support for the MBTA Communities Act, a law passed in 2021, but which has now come to prominence as local voters across the state are deciding on whether to approve zoning changes mandated by the legislation. Overall, 33% support it while 45% oppose, and 22% are unsure. While the migrant crisis is taking a toll on the state’s fiscal health, the poll tried to determine how concerned voters are of any effects the crisis might have on housing costs. The poll found 73% of voters are “highly” or “somewhat” concerned that this large influx of new residents will have a negative effect on the housing and rental markets in Massachusetts. That sentiment received strong majorities among Democratic voters at 58%, Republican voters at 98%, and unenrolled voters at 79%. Clearly, when policies at the State House that deal with the migrant crisis are being debated, voters have in mind the housing impact in addition to other impacts.

In April, Governor Healey’s Secretary of Transportation Monica Tibbits-Nutt made several statements that she has both the authority and intention to pursue several tax hikes in order to expand transportation spending. They were new tolls at the state border, new taxes on package deliveries, higher taxes on ride share companies, higher payroll taxes, and higher vehicle excise taxes. While her comments have been widely reported and the Governor was forced to make a public repudiation of the comments, Monica Tibbits-Nutt is still Chair of a task force designed to make recommendations to raise taxes by the end of the year. The poll gauged the support of Tibbits-Nutt’s tax hikes proposals and gave voters the option to pick none, pick one, pick more than one, or even pick them all. The poll found that 61% of voters do not support any of the tax hike proposals the Secretary raised. The tax hike with the highest support was tolls at the state border at 22%, but Governor Healey has stated she doesn’t support her Transportation Secretary’s desire to add tolls at the state border. Nearly 39% of the voters felt that Monica Tibbits-Nutt should be fired as the Secretary of Transportation, while 37% were unsure and, 25% said no.

Lastly, the poll asked if voters are considering leaving the state. This question has been asked in three previous polls from the Fiscal Alliance Foundation and for the first time ever, the number one reason for people considering leaving came in as taxes are too high at 27%. Overall, 30% said they are considering leaving, a slight uptick from 26% in February’s poll.

“What is clear in this poll is that raising taxes and fees is not a popular proposition. Voters do not want to pay more. They have deep concerns for how the migrant situation is negatively impacting the housing and rental markets. They do not support the Governor’s ideas around raising the real estate transfer fee tax, or the Governor’s Secretary of Transportation. Governor Healey and Secretary Tibbits Nutt may be hanging out on a limb with these unpopular tax hike proposals, but that doesn’t mean State House lawmakers should feel compelled to go along. The voters don’t endorse it,” stated Paul Diego Craney, spokesperson for the Fiscal Alliance Foundation.

“There seems to be a disconnect with what voters think, what our Governor is proposing, and what the Secretary of Transportation is spearheading. Voters that are considering leaving the state say it’s due to taxes and the cost of living being too high at 47%. Governor Healey’s real estate transfer fee would have the potential to raise taxes on some property sales, while her Secretary of Transportation would make the cost of living higher if her wish list was fulfilled. There’s certainly a disconnect between voters and our State House leaders,” noted Craney. 

“While Governor Healey and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu were traveling around Italy last week attending a climate conference, here in Massachusetts voters seem to have soured on the idea of paying more for housing in order to fulfill NetZero goals. It’s not hard to fathom, when the political class tells us taxpayers to pay more and consume less, while they are jet-setting to Europe, voters don’t really buy it and the polls show that,” concluded Craney.

The poll viewed the opinions of 750 likely voters on both cell phones and landlines between May 13 and 14. The poll has a margin of error of 3.6% at a 95% confidence level. The poll was sponsored by the Fiscal Alliance Foundation and conducted by Jim Eltringham of Advantage Inc., a polling company in the Washington D.C. area.

A copy of the poll topline data may be found here.

A copy of the poll crosstabs may be found here.