In poll, Baker takes backseat to Trump

Gov. Charlie Baker is increasingly a man without a party.

Four years ago Donald Trump won the Republican presidential primary in Massachusetts with 49 percent of the vote. Now his support among Republicans in Massachusetts is overwhelming.

A WBUR poll of 374 likely Republican primary voters found 82 percent of them have a favorable view of Trump, compared to only 50 percent for Baker, the state’s Republican governor. Baker’s favorability was actually higher, at 61 percent, among 471 Democratic primary voters surveyed separately.

On question after question in the survey of likely Republican voters, whether it was the firing of those who testified against him during the impeachment proceedings or the pardons and commutations of 11 controversial figures, Trump won strong support.

When asked who is the better model for Republican politicians to follow, 63 percent said Trump. Only 27 percent said Baker.

In the Massachusetts Republican presidential primary, it was no contest: Trump received the support of 83 percent of the likely GOP voters; William Weld, Baker’s political mentor, garnered 14 percent support.

“The party here is Donald Trump’s party,” said Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the survey for WBUR. “Sometimes it’s harder to see, because Charlie Baker is a Republican governor and is incredibly popular, but when it comes to the committed base of the Republican Party, it is Trump’s party.”

That may explain why a super PAC with close ties to Baker is supporting both Republicans and Democrats in special elections for legislative seats and why it’s backing Republicans who are more in sync with Baker in special election GOP primary fights.

The Massachusetts Majority PAC spent $4,879 on a campaign mailing supporting Democrat Kate Lipper-Garabedian in the Democratic primary race for the rep seat vacated by Paul Brodeur of Melrose. The PAC has also spent $14,025 so far on campaign mailings backing Jesse Brown in his bid to defeat James McMahon III in the GOP primary for the Senate seat vacated by Vincent deMacedo of Plymouth. And the PAC has sent out $7,334 worth of mailings on behalf of Catherine Clark, who is running against Malena Chastain in the Republican primary for the rep seat vacated by Democrat Jennifer Benson of Lunenburg.

BRUCE MOHL



Massachusetts is facing a transportation crisis. Roads, bridges, and transit statewide urgently need investment. The gas tax, which has increased by only 3 cents since 1991, is a proven, stable, and immediate solution to make our commutes better. Learn more at www.t4ma.org/progress.


BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker panned the taxes and fees included in the House’s transportation funding bill, but Rep. William Straus, one of the authors of that legislation, tweaks the governor by calling him an ally on transportation funding. (CommonWealth) Baker may not like the bill’s proposed increase in the corporate minimum tax, but business leaders who feared a more sweeping hit had a more muted reaction. (Boston Globe) Transportation notes: Whither the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board? …House bill calls for $6 million in ride-hailing fees to support taxis and livery firms … Uber, Lyft scratch their heads over House bill’s incentive approach. (CommonWealth)

A traffic camera debate is put on hold in the Senate after Republicans complain they were being muzzled. (CommonWealth)

The Senate includes money for coronavirus testing in a supplemental budget bill passed Thursday. (MassLive) The Senate also passed a bill to make it easier for homeless people to get IDs from the RMV (MassLive) and to preserve records access in a disability bill. (CommonWealth)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan’s administration is questioning the amount of Police Chief Albert Dupere’s payouts for unused vacation time, which could lead to amendments to the chief’s work contract. (Herald News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump said the government could quickly add to its ranks of public health specialists to deal with coronavirus outbreak in the US, but experts say that won’t be so easy. (Washington Post)

ELECTIONS

A WBUR poll indicates Elizabeth Warren is trailing Bernie Sanders in her home state. (WBUR) The Springfield Republican snubs its home state candidate and endorses former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg for president. Some Boston area business bigshots are also signing on with the billionaire businessman. (Boston Globe)

Should Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders not win a majority of pledged delegates through the primary process, things will get messy at Democrats July convention in Milwaukee. (Boston Globe) While lots of Democratic leaders are fretting that Sanders would get clobbered in a match-up against President Trump, writer Steve Phillips makes the case that Vermont senator would actually be well-positioned to win. (New York Times)

In a meeting with the Eagle-Tribune editorial board, Bill Weld calls Trump an “existential threat to the nation.”

The number of registered voters in Massachusetts is up — and most of them are independents. (State House News)

Democratic activist Sean Mullan will run for state representative from Springfield. (MassLive)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The stock market turns bleak, and things could get worse, as the effects of the coronavirus ripple through the global economy. (Boston Globe) Colleges and universities are feeling the impact of coronavirus, from the cancelling of overseas studies to concerns about recruitment of Chinese students. (Boston Globe)

The Berkshire Innovation Center, in the works for more than a decade, makes its formal debut today. The Pittsfield facility is designed to give Berkshire County a link to the high tech economy that has boomed in other parts of the state. (Berkshire Eagle)

Minority-owned marijuana business owners are being crushed by the wait for licenses. (WGBH)

The president of the New England Aquarium ripped developer Don Chiofaro’s plans for a huge tower next to the facility at the first public meeting on the proposal. (Boston Herald)

EDUCATION

A cyber thief steals $1.75 million from Westfield State University, money that was supposed to be paid to a state agency. (MassLive)

Members of the Dartmouth Educators Association picketed to bring attention to negotiations with school officials. Educators have been working without a contract this year. (Standard-Times) 

A nationwide shortage of bus drivers is hurting the North Shore. (Gloucester Daily Times)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Attorney General Maura Healey signs a $1 million mental health parity settlement with five health insurers and two behavioral health companies. (CommonWealth)

South Shore Health has assembled a mobile health care unit aimed at bringing hospital-level care to patients with chronic conditions at their homes. (Patriot Ledger)

Massachusetts hospitals say they are ready to deal with coronavirus. (The Salem News)

ARTS/CULTURE

Families of murder victims in Brockton are portraying the human toll of gun violence through quilting. (The Enterprise)

TRANSPORTATION

At a Worcester-area forum, state officials say crowded trains and a lack of parking at commuter rail stations are among the barriers to getting people to switch from driving to public transit. (Telegram & Gazette)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

After hearing more than four hours of arguments, a judge is considering whether to approve a $143 million settlement between Columbia Gas and Merrimack Valley residents affected by the 2018 gas explosions. (Eagle-Tribune) Meanwhile, Merrimack Valley lawmakers want to divert the $53 million federal fine paid by Columbia Gas to those communities and individuals hurt by the explosions instead of the federal government. (The Salem News)

CASINOS

Employment at MGM Springfield has fallen to just above 2,000 — far below expectations. (MassLive) A report says there has been about as much crime in and around the casino as at a large shopping mall. (Boston Globe)

The Interior Department lacked authority to take land into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in 2015, the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The case has been part of a years-long battle between the tribe and neighbors over a proposed $1 billion casino in Taunton. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Two former state troopers who accepted guns as gifts from a gun industry CEO while working at the state police academy armory are sentenced to two years on probation. (Telegram & Gazette)

The Suffolk County district attorney refused two years ago to prosecute Boston Public Library janitors for collecting overtime for hours they didn’t work because the DA said library officials had known about the scheme for years and let it continue. (WGBH)

TV actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli will go to trial in October on charges that they bribed their daughters’ way into college. (AP)

MEDIA

The Tampa Bay Times orders a temporary 10 percent pay cut for all staffers because of a shaky financial start to the year. (Tampa Bay Times)

The Chicago Tribune makes cuts and changes in its top management. (Chicago Tribune)