The Topline: Changing the gender balance on Beacon Hill

It’s been a busy couple weeks in #mapoli, and for MPG. We have you covered with a new WBUR article and not one but two new podcasts. WBUR: How The Mass. Legislature Can Get Closer To Gender Balance

 Steve Koczela and Jake Rubinstein, writing for WBUR:

“State Sen. Harriette Chandler, a Democrat from Worcester, became the acting president of the Massachusetts Senate this week, the second woman of the last three leaders to hold the gavel. Four of the state's six key constitutional officers are women, and one of our U.S. senators.

“In the state Legislature, however, Massachusetts is very far from gender balance, and making no progress. Women make up a slim majority of Massachusetts residents, but only a quarter of state legislators.

“The problem isn’t that women aren’t winning elections, but that they have too few opportunities to run. To move toward gender balance, women candidates will have to broaden the field. That means more women candidates challenging sitting lawmakers in party primaries and general elections, rather than waiting for open seats.” Read the rest at WBUR.

The Horse Race LIVE

We looked at this from another angle in a live edition of The Horse Race podcast last week. After a brief look at what’s to come in 2018 (including a primary challenge to Bill Galvin), Steve and Lauren were joined by Puja Mehta of Emerge Massachusetts and Jenn Nassour of Conservative Women for a Better Future to discuss why there aren’t more women in Massachusetts politics, and how to overcome that barrier.

The Horse Race Emergency Podcast

MPG President Steve Koczela and Lauren Dezenski of POLITICO did a snap pod to discuss the Rosenberg saga and resulting leadership shake-up in the State Senate, a Republican pickup in a State Senate special election, and the questions that successfully collected signatures to advance towards the 2018 ballot.

The Horse Race will be back in the new year with more insight, analysis, and trivia. Stay tuned!

The Crosstabs

FiveThirtyEight finds Trump’s approval rating at 37.8 percent, with 55.9 percent disapproving.


NBC News finds 31 percent of Republicans want someone other than Trump to be their party’s nominee in 2020.

Gallup finds 29 percent approve of the Republican tax plan, and 56 percent disapprove. Quinnipiac found a similar 29-53 split. HuffPost Pollster found 30 percent in favor, but only 39 percent opposed. One apparent reason for the difference is that Gallup did not offer and explicit “don’t know” option, while HuffPost did. CBS News finds 35 percent support.

A new YouGov/Economist poll finds that while leaders of the parties are in sync, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe sexual harassment is a serious problem.

Prior to his resignation announcement today, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found 49 percent of Democrats nationally said Senator Al Franken should go. In his home state, 22 percent thought he should remain, 33 percent thought he should resign, and 36 said they wanted to want on the results of the Senate ethics investigation.

A Quinnipiac Poll finds 64 percent of respondents think people are more likely to be held accountable for sexual harassment than they were before. The same poll finds 47 percent of women say they have been sexually assaulted.

CBS news finds that 71 percent of Alabama Republican likely voters believe the allegations against Roy Moore are false. The Real Clear Politics polling average has Moore with a slight lead over Democrat Doug Jones ahead of next Tuesday’s vote, but as a special election, it’s much too close to call.

Pew has a major report about gender in America, covering whether gender differences are driven by biology or society, Americans’ prioritizing masculinity over femininity, and gender and political partisanship.

The Harvard Institute of Politics is out with their latest Youth Poll of 18-29 year-olds, which finds young people pessimistic and fearful about the direction of the country and in favor of Democratic control of Congress after the 2018 midterms.

Meanwhile, NBC find a majority of millennials think there needs to be a third political party.

Researchers have found that letting kids dress up as a superhero improved their performance on a computer task. We’ve found this to be true.

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Star Wars Episode VIII is coming out next week, and Morning Consult is out with a timely batch of Star Wars polling. Respondents correctly assigned the original trilogy the highest marks and the prequels the lowest, with the new films in the middle. But the real controversy comes in the favorability ratings of various characters from the films. We’re not sure what to make of Jar Jar Binks beating out Mace Windu, except perhaps that the latter suffered from some lack of name recognition.