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WBZ-UMass Poll: Baker Most Popular Politician In Massachusetts

BOSTON (CBS) - Who's the most popular politician in staunchly Democratic Massachusetts?

Read: Complete Poll Results

None other than Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, into his second year of sky-high job-approval ratings. The WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio, UMass Amherst Poll shows finds Baker with a whopping 73% approval number (27% strongly approving and 46% somewhat approving).

That dwarfs the second most-popular pol, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with 51%, President Obama's 48%, Attorney General Maura Healey's 44%, and Sen. Ed Markey's 41%.

Just to give some extra perspective, Pope Francis trails Baker with 62%.

How is the governor doing it?

By focusing on the job in a largely bi-partisan way with few political missteps and – perhaps most importantly in the post-Dukakis/Weld/Romney era – zero interest in higher office.

But it also helps that in our poll, 48% of registered voters surveyed think the state is headed in the "right direction," while only 34% think we're on the "wrong track," one of the more positive outcomes on this question in the history of the UMass Poll, according to director Brian Schaffner.

Asked what concerns them most about the quality of life in their community, 56% cited either the cost of living (38%) or taxes (18%), and another 16% mentioned drug abuse. But after that, a sharp drop-off; schools, crime and public transportation all drew less than ten-percent of the mentions.

And my personal pet peeve, traffic? Just two percent, within the margin of error.

Baker has also been lucky. He inherited an economy racking up some of its best employment numbers in years, and you wonder if voters would be so sanguine if this winter hadn't been a blessed reversal of last year's snowpocalypse. With some economists warning of another possible recession, Baker's luck could turn. But for now, the WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio, UMass Amherst Poll suggests smooth sailing for the governor.

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