EXCLUSIVE: 7NEWS/Emerson College poll shows voter divide among Gov. candidates – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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BOSTON (WHDH) – With Governor Charlie Baker deciding two terms is enough the race for the corner office is wide open, our WHDH 7NEWS/ Emerson College poll shows voters are keeping an open mind but have some clear preferences.

The race for governor in Massachusetts is heading into the summer campaign season.

“We’re seeing a, a bit of a political shift happening,” said Spencer Kimball, the director of Emerson College Polling.

Our exclusive 7NEWS/ Emerson College poll reveals two frontrunners. In the Democratic Primary, Attorney General Maura Healey is the favorite of 34 percent of likely primary voters with her closest rival State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz polling at just 8 percent.

A whopping 43 percent of voters say they are undecided.

Former State Representative Geoff Diehl is the choice of 37 percent of Republican Primary voters while his closest rival businessman Chris Doughty earned just 9 percent. Still, 41 percent of likely Republican Primary voters say they are undecided.

“Amongst those candidates in the pool, they’re still open-minded it appears about who they’re going to select. Though a plurality in both races are leaning toward Healey and Diehl,” said Kimball.

If the race does come down to Healey and Diehl, voters are leaning blue. Healey nearly doubled Diehl earning 59 percent to 31 percent with only 10 percent undecided in that hypothetical matchup.

“It looks like Healey’s in a really strong position to win back the governorship for the Democrats, particularly if Geoff Diehl is the Republican nominee,” said Kimball.

The coronavirus pandemic has dominated so much of our lives for the past three years but our poll found that 43 percent of likely voters identify the economy as the top issue on their minds with only 6 percent citing COVID-19 as the most important.

When we asked whether people still plan to wear a mask in indoor public places 29 percent said always, 42 percent said sometimes and 30 percent said they are done masking up.

“It’s almost like we’re comfortable now knowing that COVID is here. But, if we wear masks and we’ve been vaccinated that we feel that it’s not a pressing issue as it once was you know just a couple of months ago,” said Kimball.

Both parties will hold their state conventions in the next month and candidates have to get at least 15 percent of the delegates to qualify for the primary.

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