On One Year Anniversary of Legislature Passing Graduated Income Surtax Amendment, New Poll of Massachusetts Voters Show Significant Change of Mood

Poll Covers Biden’s Handling of Inflation, Gubernatorial Race, Legislature’s Surtax Amendment Question, Gas Tax Suspension, & Reasons for Why Voters are Leaving Massachusetts

Boston – On the one-year anniversary of the legislature passing their proposed graduated income surtax amendment, the Fiscal Alliance Foundation (FAF) announced the results of a new statewide poll of Massachusetts likely voters gauging Bay State opinions on a wide variety of familiar issues, including the upcoming ballot question.

A full copy of the poll toplines may be found here.

A full copy of the poll crosstabs may be found here.

The poll gauged the opinions of voters on President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy and inflation, the open Governor’s race, the legislature’s graduated income surtax amendment ballot question, the effort to suspend the state gas tax, and reasons for why nearly 1 in 4 voters are currently considering leaving Massachusetts. The poll was conducted with live operators and fielded between June 1 - 5, 2022, surveyed 750 registered voters with a history of voting in elections. The margin of error is +/- 3.5% with 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.

Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka have rejected bi-partisan attempts to suspend the state gas tax, despite neighboring states doing so. The FAF poll asked voters if they think Massachusetts should temporarily suspend the state gas and diesel taxes and 68% said yes, while 18% said no. The poll asked voters if they are considering or have made plans to leave Massachusetts to reside somewhere else and nearly 1 in 4 voters responded that they are. For voters who responded they have plans or are considering leaving Massachusetts, the poll offered selection of several reasons for why they are leaving and the number one response was “taxes are too high” at nearly 32%. A similar poll was conducted in March by John Zogby of Zogby Strategies in New York state that also found “taxes are too high” as the primary reason for people leaving that neighboring Northeastern state.

This is the second FAF poll that shows that a majority of voters would be against the legislature’s proposed income surtax amendment ballot question. In February, the poll found nearly 52% were against the question while 37% were in support of it.  This June’s poll results show a sharp shift in opinion against the proposed ballot question. Nearly 69% of voters would not support it, while only 20% would support it. Among Massachusetts voters, concerns over inflation seems to be intensifying and the increasingly high costs associated with nearly everything may be causing voters to sour on proposed policies, and the politicians that advocate for them. President Joe Biden’s job performance and handling of inflation took a hit from FAF polls in March and February. Nearly 49% approve and 46% disapprove of the President’s job performance, a drop from 54% approve and 44% disapprove in March. When asked specifically about President Biden’s handling of inflation, the President’s numbers continue to decline. In March, the approval and disapproval of the President’s handling of inflation was tied at 48%, while they now stand at 38.5% approve and 53% disapprove. That represents a 14.5-point swing in opinion against the President’s handling of inflation.

The poll also asked about the candidates running for Governor. Once again, inflation and overall economic anxiety seem to be impacting the Governor’s race. With 60% unsure who they will vote for in November, June’s poll demonstrates an electorate that remains unsold on Healey.

“The poll is starting to show strong changes in feelings on issues and candidates as a result of economic anxiety being the top issue on most people’s minds. The President’s handling of inflation is taking a nose dive, the legislature’s ballot question to raise taxes on the affluent and small businesses is beginning to unravel, and nearly three in five voters remain undecided in the Governor’s race, which is not a good sign for Maura Healey, the establishment’s pick,” stated Paul D. Craney, a spokesman for the Fiscal Alliance Foundation.

“For voters who want to leave or plan to leave Massachusetts, they made it clear their primary reason is due to taxes. When asked about suspending the state gas tax, there was overwhelming support by voters, which is not encouraging if you are Senate President Karen Spilka or Speaker Ron Mariano who have described gas tax relief as a ‘gimmick.’ These very strong feelings as a result of taxes and inflation may be the primary reason for why the legislature’s ballot question has seen a 33-point swing since our poll in February. The campaign for the grad tax may not be in full swing but voters are already starting to sour on it,” continued Craney.

“The poll seems to show that general election voters, who do not pay as much attention to daily politics as do primary or caucus voters, are beginning to show strong feelings toward candidates and policies due to concern for economic anxiety,” concluded Craney.