The Topline: Is MA-7 minority-majority? Not among voters

Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley announced last week she is challenging 18-year veteran Congressman Mike Capuano. [...] Since Pressley's announcement, much of the coverage has noted the diversity of the district as a key dynamic in how the race may unfold. The urban district, which includes large parts of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea, is alone in Massachusetts as the only minority-majority congressional district. [...]

But while it’s true that the 7th is less than half white in terms of the total population, the district’s voters are less diverse. According to voter data provided by The Novus Group, a political data firm in Boston, approximately 55 percent of registered voters in the district are white.

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Read the rest at wbur.org.

We also dug into this on this week’s episode of The Horse Race, starting at the 13-minute mark.

MPG ICYMI

The Horse Race is heating up in the 2018 campaign season. Last week we dug into the surprise exit of former State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and the surprise entrance of Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley’s primary challenge to Congressman Mike Capuano. This week it’s all about the caucuses.

In the lead-up to the big game that we’re not talking about around here, WBUR released the final set of numbers from our most recent poll, showing that football fans haven’t tuned out over concussions in the sport. But voters do support government regulation to deal with the problem, especially in youth football, and majorities think the game is unsafe for high school students and younger kids.

THE CROSSTABS

President Trump’s approval ratings have seen a slight bump; FiveThirtyEight puts the latest approval rating at 40.8 percent, with 53.6 percent disapproving.

Meanwhile Gallup breaks down its 2017 Trump approval by state.

The FiveThirtyEight generic congressional ballot puts Democrats ahead of Republicans by 6.5 points. Multiple recent polls show a closing gap: Monmouth has Democrats ahead by 2 points, FOX by 6 points, and RealClearPolitics by 6 points. Democrats were leading by double digits back in December.

Quinnipiac finds opinion of the GOP tax bill is up, although it is still underwater. Now, 39 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove - compared to 32/52 from early January.

Quinnipiac also finds increased confidence in the state of the economy, and 51 percent approval of President Trump’s handling of the economy. That’s Trump’s highest rating on the issue since his inauguration.

GOP-leaning research firm Echelon Insights has put together a comparison of the politics of the 16 markets left standing in Amazon’s search for HQ2 -- including Boston.

Views of the Russia investigation remain stable but polarized, says a new Huffington Post/YouGov survey. But Republicans have lost confidence in the FBI.

The Chicago Council of Global Affairs and Levada Analytical Center released new data last month on the US/Russian relationship, showing that though American and Russian publics agree on a number of foreign policy issues, there is a mutual sense of distrust.

Pew finds that while the economy continues to be among the public’s leading priorities, fewer see it as a top issue. Protecting the environment (62 percent), transportation (49 percent), and drug addiction (49 percent) have all risen in importance.

Pew also released a study asserting that the media’s use of election forecasts that give a candidate a percentage likelihood of winning may confuse voters and depress turnout. Forecast king Nate Silver responds on Twitter.

It happened a million news cycles ago, but yes, the State of the Union did occur last week. HuffPost/YouGov found generally positive reviews among the Republican-leaning audience that viewed it. Few saw it as any kind of pivot.

Tariffs were one of many issues touted in the address, but the public is not convinced. Only a quarter of Americans think the new tariffs on foreign-made solar panels (24 percent) and washing machines (26 percent) will increase US jobs. A plurality (42 percent) are not sure if tariffs protect jobs, 31 percent believe they do, and 26 percent believe they do not.

In addition to our state-level numbers on concussions and football, a new WSJ/NBC poll shows 53 percent of mothers say they would encourage their children to play a sport other than football. The poll also finds a 9-point drop in the percentages of American following the NFL closely, driven by a 19-point drop among the league’s core demographic: men.

Onto other sports: Gallup finds fewer Americans are planning to watch the Winter Olympics that start tonight, part of a steady 20-point decline in interest since 2002. (We at MPG are eagerly looking forward to the curling.)


-------------------------------------------------NERD ALERT-------------------------------------------------

The Nerd Alert Tearline has gone to the dogs this week. YouGov asked nearly 6,000 Americans whether they think canines should be encouraged in the workplace. Apparently they talked to some cat people, because 35 percent said no. The rest were split equally between the pro-dog camp and ambivalence about the idea (28 percent each).

One methodological note: Our podcast producer Hannah Chanatry argues that respondents who don’t like dogs should thus be excluded from the survey on the grounds that they are heartless robots and not actually human. So, grain of salt.

Click through for the crosstabs, and a pretty adorable dog picture.

Llyr Johansen