Massachusetts Voters Undo Conventional Wisdom
Washington, DC – The Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) released a poll looking at Massachusetts voters’ attitudes in last week’s senate election. The Massachusetts Special Election on January19, 2010 upended “conventional wisdom” about “who can/might/should/ or will win” and how traditional voting blocs may cast their ballots in upcoming elections. This is not simply a look at “what happened,” but also what it means for the legislative agenda in Washington. In this poll, actual voters provide a roadmap for reform as Washington continues to debate how best to fix the economy, jump-start entrepreneurship, and shore up national security.
- >> Click here for the PDF of the Massachusetts Post-Election Survey
- >> Click here for the PDF of the Post-Election Analysis
Independent Women Voters: This demographic was key to the electoral outcome. They bucked their gender, with 67% of them supporting Scott Brown. Majorities say that Congress should stop the current levels of spending and call for enacting provisions that make it more affordable for people to buy health insurance on their own, instead of through their jobs, in the same way people buy homeowners’ and life insurance (56%). Two-thirds of Indie women would allow small businesses to form groups to buy healthcare coverage at lower rates, and 45% want Congress to “start over” on healthcare reform; just 2% say continue with the reform “as is.”
- Those who had frequently voted for Ted Kennedy in the past (63% of the sample) had some surprising opinions: 79% of them said providing tax cuts to small businesses for job creation will speed up the nation’s economic recovery; 47% say Congress should open healthcare negotiations for the public to observe.
- Healthcare Plays the Heaviest Hand: Nearly two-in-five (38%) actual voters said they had healthcare on the brain when deciding between candidates; of those, 57% said in a later question that they support current efforts being undertaken in Washington. Other issues of importance were the economy (16%), jobs and unemployment (13%), government spending (7%), and taxes (3%), meaning that fiscal issues summed statistically-equal to healthcare (39%). Among the 29% of respondents who said that healthcare was their top concern, the majority (51%) said it was because they oppose the current legislation being considered in Washington, D.C., 46% because they support it.
- National Security: Because the Christmas day near-miss terrorist attack happened during the campaign, the issue of national security presented itself. During a rally, then-candidate Scott Brown said, “In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.” Sixty-four percent of voters indicated that hearing Scott Brown say this was “very” (42%) or “somewhat” (22%) important when deciding which candidate to support. Seventy percent of voters who said the statement had importance cast ballots for Brown.
- National Consequences: Whereas 72% of Brown voters said they cast votes “mostly for” him and 60% of Coakley voters said theirs were also “mostly for” her, voters had not forgotten the consequences of their voting decisions. Consider that 80% of Brown voters said that their “all” or “some” of their votes were “to oppose President Obama’s agenda in Washington” and, similarly, 82% of Coakley supporters said that their “all” or “some” of their support was “to advance President Obama’s agenda in Washington.”
- When asked which candidates they supported in the past – Democrats or Republicans – for United States Senate and then asked to anticipate how they will vote in the future, there was a seven-point difference between the percentage of voters saying they have always or mostly voted for Democrats and the percentage saying they will do so in the future.
The poll, conducted for IWV by Women Trend, a division of the polling company™ inc. surveyed 411 Massachusetts voters from January 23rd-24th, 2010.