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The MassINC Polling Group has released the Trend Monitor for Q1 2012.

A brief summary of highlights:

  • Massachusetts residents’ outlook has brightened this quarter, with a majority now saying the state is headed in the right direction. Given the large increase in the Index of Consumer Sentiment (see below), it is likely that residents are reacting at least partially to the recent positive economic news.
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appears to face little threat on his home turf from a Newt Gingrich challenge. Gingrich is seen favorably by just 29 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of unenrolled voters, compared to 63 percent and 44 percent for Romney, respectively. A third of Massachusetts residents see Elizabeth Warren favorably, similar to the numbers who said the same in October 2011. Senator Brown’s favorability figures have stopped the trend of small declines that had been present in each of our previous quarterly surveys.
  • Consumer confidence in Massachusetts has risen since last quarter, buoyed by positive economic news. The largest gains came from consumers’ perceptions of future business conditions as well as anticipated improvements for the overall economy (see next page). These gains may be fragile, vulnerable both to negative economic news as well as a new Washington-fueled crisis of confidence. The debt ceiling negotiations of 2011 drove down both statewide and national consumer confidence, reflective of serious doubts about the Government’s handling of the economy.