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James Pindell | Ground Game

Our Republican governor is more popular with Democrats. Wait, what?

Governor Charlie Baker may be popular among Democrats, but he’s not as popular in his own party.
Governor Charlie Baker may be popular among Democrats, but he’s not as popular in his own party.Charles Krupa/Associated Press/File

The winning formula often plays out like this in competitive elections: A candidate picks up support from nearly all of the party faithful, gets just enough support from independents, and, maybe, shaves off some votes from the other party for victory.

But Massachusetts, a deeply blue state, is not typical.

Still, it’s notable that Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican seeking a second term in November, had a higher job approval rating with independents and Democrats, 76 percent and 71 percent, respectively, than he did with Republicans, 59 percent of whom gave him high marks in a recent poll from Suffolk University and The Boston Globe.

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The same survey also showed Baker with a sky-high 72 percent job approval rating and leading his Democratic challenger, Jay Gonzalez, by 27 percentage points.

For comparison, 86 percent of Democrats approved of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s job performance, while 85 percent of Republicans disapproved. Forty-nine percent of independents approved of her job performance.

The flip side for Baker is his standing among Republicans, who gave his GOP challenger, anti-gay Springfield pastor Scott Lively, nearly 36 percent of the vote in the Sept. 4 primary. But registered Republicans only account for 10 percent of registered voters in the state, while Democrats are 33 percent and independents are about 55 percent.

One reason Baker may be running so strong with Democrats? The survey showed voters say Baker has put some distance between himself and President Trump. The same Suffolk/Globe poll found that 61 percent of the 500 Massachusetts likely voters surveyed said Baker is anti-Trump, compared to just 12 percent who said he was pro-Trump.

This matters given that a Morning Consult poll last month found Massachusetts to be the most anti-Trump state in the nation.


James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell. Click here to subscribe to his Ground Game newsletter on politics.

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