Charlie Baker and the incredible vanishing gender gap.
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Charlie Baker has bridged the gender gap. Nationally, Democratic women are fleeing the Republican party, threatening to swing a host of offices to Democrats, while men still tilt right. But women here in Massachusetts prefer Baker over Democrat Jay Gonzalez by about the same margins as do male voters.
This was by no means expected. Baker’s two previous runs for governor featured two of the largest gender gaps in recent statewide electoral history.
(When we refer to the gender gap gap, we mean the distance between the margins among male voters and female voters. If a Republican wins men by 7 points and the Democrat wins women by 6, the gender gap is 13 points.)
Averaging together the latest WBUR and Suffolk/Boston Globe polls, Charlie Baker’s gender gap is a scant 4 points. This is not because men and women have suddenly started voting similarly here in Massachusetts. Looking at the Senate race, Elizabeth Warren leads Republican challenger Geoff Diehl among women voters by 41 points, while the race is within a point among men.
Preelection polls in 2016 showed the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump following a similar structure, with a 44 point lead among women contrasting to an 8 point race closer race among male voters.
If these numbers hold on election day, Warren’s gap would be a new record among recent statewide elections. The previous record was set when Charlie Baker his lost first bid for governor to Deval Patrick in 2010. The gender gap in that race was 37 points. Baker’s successful 2014 run again Martha Coakley featured the third largest recent gap: 34 points.
The fact that Baker has closed his gender gap from 34 to 4, in a bad year for Republicans and against national trends, is a testament to the breadth of his support. The 30 percent of voters who are planning on voting for both Baker for governor and Warren for Senate are disproportionately female and Democratic. In other words, there are many more Warren voters willing to cross-over for Charlie Baker than vice versa.
Baker’s cross-party, cross-gender appeal is a notable bright spot in a campaign season that has somehow gotten even darker and more divisive in its final week. In the aftermath of the election, politicians and analysts looking for an alternative to partisan rancor may be giving blue Massachusetts and its red governor a closer look after election day.
Our final pre-election episode of The Horse Race is posted for your listening enjoyment. We round out our looks at statewide offices with a check in on the race for Attorney General with WGBH’s Maddie Kilgannon. We also dig into all the latest polling and hear from WBUR’s Steve Brown on legislative races to watch.
Our final pre-election poll for WBUR is out. It finds Governor Charlie Baker and Senator Elizabeth Warren maintaining their wide leads. Support for Question 1 (nurse staffing ratios) has taken a major tumble, and now stands at 31 percent, while 58 percent oppose the question.
A new Suffolk University Boston Globe poll finds similar themes. It also looking at how voters say they made up their minds on question 1, and found nurses played a key role.
A new Western New England University poll also found the incumbents looking strong for reelection.
MPG’s Western Mass station chief Rich Parr was on the Disagreeing Agreeably Codcast this week talking about a topic on which we have quite a bit of polling: transportation.
Democrats are favored to take the house, according to most forecasts. This is a lot different than saying they will take the house. FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans a 15.3 percent chance of keeping the house. That’s about the chance a Red Sox pitcher will get a hit — not that likely, but it can happen.