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Half of Mass. voters oppose legalized marijuana question

According to a new poll, about half of registered Mass. voters oppose a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana for people 21 years of age and older.

Bob Pearson for the Boston Globe

According to a new poll, about half of registered Mass. voters oppose a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana for people 21 years of age and older.

About half of registered Massachusetts voters oppose a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana for people 21 years of age and older, according to a new poll.

The survey, which weighed public opinion on a range of ballot questions and state politics found that 51 percent plan to vote against the marijuana legalization question, while 41 percent said they would support it. Nine percent were undecided.

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Conducted July 12 and July 13 by Gravis Marketing for Jobs First, a conservative political action committee, the poll surveyed 901 registered voters and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. The Florida-based firm used instant voice recognition to conduct the survey.

The study also asked about hypothetical matchups in the 2018 gubernatorial election. Republican Governor Charlie Baker would trounce Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey 56 percent to 30 percent if the election “were held tomorrow,” according to the poll.

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US Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III fared slightly better. The poll showed Baker ahead of Kennedy, 50 percent to 38 percent.

Baker, shown in some polls to be the nation’s most popular governor, continues to enjoy solidly positive ratings, with two-thirds viewing him favorably and 22 percent unfavorably.

State lawmakers did not do as well, with the Legislature overall winning just a 42 percent favorability number and a 46 percent unfavorable rating in the survey.

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In keeping with historical patterns of polling around legislative bodies, individual legislators performed better. Fifty-nine percent of respondents hold positive opinions of their own state representatives, while 26 view theirs unfavorably.

Still, 40 percent said they would support a new person to serve as their state representative if the election were tomorrow, while 38 percent would vote to reelect the seat’s current occupant, a clear sign of the hunger for change that has tinged the political year.

Fully 70 percent of respondents said the state Legislature is more concerned with helping “special interest groups” than “regular citizens.”

State voters will consider four ballot measures in November. Asked about another one of them, whether they wanted to increase the number of charter schools allowed to operate in the state, 48 percent said yes and 34 percent said no.

Baker, who supports charter school expansion, has thrown his political heft behind the question, which has drawn heavy opposition from teachers unions. He has also joined the public opposition to the marijuana legalization question, standing earlier this month with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and House Speaker Robert DeLeo at a press conference detailing their disagreement with the proposal.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at jim.osullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.
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