Gov. Charlie Baker announces task force recommendations this week

Governor Charlie Baker rolled out the findings and recommendations of his administration’s Opioid Addiction Working Group at a press conference on Monday. The Working Group’s 44-slide PowerPoint presentation offered a series of recommendations to address the opioid crisis such as new treatment beds, expanded use of Narcan, better data analysis, and closer coordination with prescribers of opiates, among many others.

Recent polls on the issue suggest the administration’s approach will find an appreciative public. Two recent Massachusetts polls support what the overdose data seems to show: opioids have emerged from the back alley and the back burner to become an issue of of widespread concern. Both WBUR and the Boston Globe polls show around 4 in 10 Massachusetts residents know someone who has recently struggled with painkiller or opiate addiction. The WBUR poll showed 83 percent see the problem as either a crisis or a major problem for the state.

The Baker administration’s public health-oriented approach is also likely to sit will with Bay State voters. A 2014

MassINC poll showed far more residents see drug use as a health problem (64 percent) than a crime (24 percent), and that large majorities think treatment is a better approach than enforcement. Overall, Massachusetts residents would like to see more focus on crime prevention and rehabilitation, and less on punishment, which squares with what the task force has proposed.

Inside the rings

The United States Olympic Committee has commissioned a poll of Boston residents about the city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, the Boston Globe reports. The article described a fairly standard set of poll questions asked during the poll, which comports with a description we received from another poll participant.

The timing of this polling, coming just before the USOC’s June 30 meeting, is sure to fuel speculation about USOC’s motives for polling. Boston 2024 Rich Davey insists the polling is benign and that no ultimatum has been issued to move public support. Alan Abrahamson of Wire Sports would like to see USOC move the bid from Boston to Los Angeles, the faster the better.

If the USOC does stick with Boston, low polling numbers in Boston will not hinder the city’s progress through the International Olympic Committee bid process for a while. MPG’s Steve Koczela examined 20 years of IOC polling data and found polling plays only a very minor role early in the process of choosing a host city. And there is precedent for major polling gains – support for the Tokyo Olympics grew from 47 percent to 70 percent from their initial bid to IOC selection. Support doesn’t have to hit the gravity-defying levels either. Vancouver won the 2010 games with only 58 percent support. Public support matters in the short term for local political leaders trying to please their constituents. But if local officials stick with the bid, Boston 2024 has a long time to build their fan base.

On the international front, the competitive picture is becoming more clear. The French Olympic committee made it official yesterday that Paris is in the running. Parisians have been supportive of previous attempts to win the Games, and national polls show 73 percent support the Paris 2024 bid. Budapest also appears to be moving closer to a bid. If it materializes, it has the support of 64 percent of the Hungarian public.




2016 update

Our fellow Boston pollster Suffolk University polled the Democratic and Republican sides in New Hampshire, with some eye-popping results on both the Democratic and Republican side.

Nationally, Hillary Clinton continues to cruise, far outpacing her nearest rival.

Bush’s announce-bounce is confirmed by the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, which finds him with 22 percent. Scott Walker (17 percent) and Marco Rubio (14 percent) round out the top three in that poll, which has the Donald with a single percentage point of support.

Chris Christie’s 2016 ambitions are complicated by a continuing nosedive in support back home. His approval rating his 30 percent this week, according to a Public Mind poll by Fairleigh Dickinson, down for a high of 77 percent post-Hurricane Sandy.

PPP is first out the gates with a poll following last week’s tragedy and finds support for gun restrictions and opposition to flying the Confederate flag at government buildings.

FiveThirtyEight digs into public opinion on the Confederate flag pre-Charleston and finds a whole lot of “meh”.

In the wake of the Charleston, S.C. massacre, NPR parses a year-old MTV poll to see if millennials really are less racist than their elders.


New Bedford votes yes for a waterfront casino in a big way, exceeding the expectation of our household income prediction model.

In honor of this weeks’ 70th anniversary of the United Nations, Kathleen Weldon examines Americans’ attitudes towards the international organization.

In the wake of recent incidents of police violence, Gallup finds public confidence in the police at a 22-year low.

On the eve of Pope Francis’ anticipated encyclical on the environment, Pew finds American Catholics divided along partisan lines on global warming.

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Americans are increasingly going mobile. Nearly half of American homes (45.4%) are wireless-only, according to a National Health Interview Survey. Huffpost also includes a link to a new study that blames a lack of cellphone polling for the underestimation of President Obama’s support in the 2012 election cycle. All MPG polls call cell phones, though doing so is far more expensive than landline calls, due to FCC restrictions. And the FCC seems poised to make it worse. Huffpollster explains why pollsters and market researchers are up in arms over new FCC adopts rules regarding telephone “autodialers.” Meant to crack down on unwanted telemarketing calls, the rules will make polling harder and more expensive.


We don’t take positions on much of anything. But on this one, we agree with FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who wrote “And the FCC probably ought to go back to policing “wardrobe malfunctions” and not making pollsters’ jobs any harder. Without accurate polling, government may end up losing its most powerful tool to know what the people who elect it really think.”


Correction: An earlier version of this article said London 2012 had 58 percent support for their bid. It has been corrected to Vancouver 2010.