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WBZ-TV-UMass Amherst Poll: Baker-Coakley, Casinos Are Close Races

BOSTON (CBS) – The first WBZ TV-UMass Amherst poll on the Massachusetts governor's race shows it's a tight contest between Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley.

The poll released Monday also shows voters are in favor of casinos in the state, but not by a wide margin.

Read: September 26 Poll Results (.pdf)

The survey of nearly 600 likely voters between September 19 and 23 has Baker leading Coakley 46-to-45 percent, with a margin of error of 4.4-percent.

The three independent candidates all registered in the single digits.

Read: September 26 Poll Crosstabs (.pdf)

Voters said the issues most important to them in the governor's race are the economy, taxes, jobs and education.


As for the four ballot questions, the closest race is the one to prohibit casinos in Massachusetts.

Among registered voters, 48-percent said they would not support a repeal of the casino law. Forty one-percent said they would vote yes to ban casinos, while 12-percent are still not sure.

When likely voters are asked, the gap narrows to five-percent. 48-percent want casinos, 42-percent don't and 11-percent are undecided.


On Question 1, which would eliminate the requirement that the state's gas tax be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index, nearly a quarter of voters are still not sure how they will vote.

Forty-four-percent of registered voters said yes, eliminate it. Thirty-two-percent would vote to keep the law the way it is, and a whopping 24-percent are undecided.

The results are similar among voters likely to head to the polls in November.


On Question 2, which would expand the state's beverage container deposit law to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks with certain exceptions, increase the associated handling fees, and make other changes to the law, the majority of voters want to leave the law alone.

The survey shows 35-percent want to expand the bottle bill, 53-percent want no change, while 12-percent are still unsure.

The numbers are virtually identical among likely voters.


The WBZ-UMass poll shows voters are hugely in favor of changing the laws regarding earned sick time.

On Question 4, a yes vote would entitle employees in Massachusetts to earn and use sick time according to certain conditions.

Among registered voters, 60-percent said yes, 21-percent voted no, while 19-percent are undecided.

Among those likely to vote, the numbers are essentially the same.


In the other major state races, Democrats have comfortable leads.

Maura Healey is ahead of Republican John Miller in the Attorney General's race, 52-to-24 percent among registered voters.

Secretary of State Bill Galvin has a wide lead over Republican challenger David D'Arcangelo, 53-to-24 percent.

In the state treasurer's race, Democrat Deb Goldberg leads Republican Mike Heffernan, 45-to-31 percent.



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