The Voters Speak! In Circles?

Photo by Uday Mittal on Unsplash

I was originally going to call this, Ball of Confusion, but some might have thought it to be another music article. Though the name fits, because as I go through the latest Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of voters, I have to say I am perplexed by some things that seemingly are in conflict with themselves. To me it underscored the difficulty in getting things done on what we think are priorities… except when they are not.

For example, you would think the popularity of a governor would be related to those thinking the state is heading in the right direction. About half the voters think we are heading in the right direction (however one interprets that), yet Governor Baker has an approval rating of an astronomical 75%. Rather than giving you a long list of what abouts, I’ll leave it as the man has Teflon.

But even within the poll, when you ask about how the economy is, only 18% think we are in economic recovery. Almost as many think we are in a depression and nearly twice as many think we are in a recession. While I am not suggesting that all the blame goes to the state’s executive, we know it is far more complicated than that, usually that kind of dissatisfaction affects how that governor is perceived. Even when asked open-ended, what are you most concerned about, the economy was on top, mentioned almost twice as often as the next issue, affordable housing.

So then we get to something I find confusing in the poll. It asks whether the next governor should be one of bold change or continue with what’s working/fix what is not. Words trigger people. My opinion is that people feel “bold change” is something disruptive and that is a scary place. A fix? Oh your car is fine, it just needs a new muffler. I need a muffler is different than I need a new car.

So let’s take a few of the issues that made the top 10 in that open response question.

  • Affordable Housing
  • Climate
  • Health Care

In my mind anyway, those all come under bold changes needed, not a fix. We cannot tinker with environmental action, it will take things that can be disruptive to how we have always done things. Sorry, please fix this without me noticing or being affected is not realistic.

Related to having to make big changes is that it will cost a lot and you’ll raise my taxes. 35% said taxes should be the same, over half said lower. Fix all these problems….. but lower taxes and now you know why I wanted to start with Ball of Confusion. That is not me saying, year, let’s just keep raising taxes. I will say, the Massachusetts tax system has to be made fairer, it is inexcusable that wealthy people pay less on taxes as a percent of income than working people. If you want to be mad, be mad at a regressive tax system.

You can also be mad that on many of the concerns we have today are going to be harder to overcome because state government, and I am talking both the Executive and Legislative branches, have for years kicked the can down the road on too many issues. There have been people talking about the environment for decades, don’t you think that more pro-active action then would have been less costly the crisis we are in now?

That is the cost of when you try to fix things that need to have more work done. You can spend money on your tire patch, but you know that wheel is going to need to be replaced.

Until we better connect how we solve our problems to the actions needed to the people we put in charge to do those things, it will get worse.




I dabble with things. Easily amused, sometimes amusing. Trying to heal the world.

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Steven Leibowitz

Steven Leibowitz

I dabble with things. Easily amused, sometimes amusing. Trying to heal the world.

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