WGBH News and Media Relations


October 19, 2017

WGBH News Poll: Boston Voters Feel Good About City, 58 Percent Back Walsh for Second Term

Likely voters express positive appraisal of city life, opportunities


BOSTON, October 19, 2017 – An exclusive WGBH News poll released today suggests that Mayor Marty Walsh’s re-election campaign appears to benefit from a generally positive appraisal that voters give city life. The telephone survey found Walsh held a commanding 39-point lead ahead of the Nov. 7 election. He drew the support of 58 percent of likely voters, compared to 19 percent for City Councilor Tito Jackson. The strong support for the first-term incumbent reflected an optimistic mood among the voters surveyed. Fully 83 percent feel “Boston is becoming a better place to live,” 91 percent of voters would “recommend their neighborhood to a friend,” and 84 percent think “Boston is a city where hopes and dreams can be realized for people like me.”

WGBH News commissioned the survey in advance of the WGBH 2017 Mayoral Debate between City Councilor Tito Jackson and Mayor Marty Walsh on October 24 at 7 p.m., which WGBH will host, produce and moderate at the WGBH studios in Brighton.

"We wanted to get a sense for how voters in Boston feel about their city," said Kate Zachry, WGBH News director. "Beyond the horserace aspect of the poll, we sought to learn more about how voters perceive the many issues and challenges our city faces. While we expect it will provide some context and inform our debate next week, we hope these findings will advance conversations and reporting well beyond Election Day." 

While survey respondents generally feel positive about life in Boston, they also expressed concerns that life was not good for everybody, everywhere in the city. Just 31 percent think all neighborhoods are improving, while 52 percent say some neighborhoods are improving, but not others. More than one in ten (14 percent) say life is not improving.

Evaluations of life in Boston varied along racial and economic lines. Fully 62 percent of white voters and 67 percent of those with incomes over $100,000 rated the quality of life excellent or very good, compared to just 36 percent of black voters and 49 percent of those with incomes under $60,000.

The poll surveyed 456 likely voters in Boston between October 14-17, 2017 and has a margin of error of ±4.6 percent. The poll was sponsored by WGBH and managed by Anderson Robbins Research. Fieldwork was conducted by Braun Research, Inc. of Princeton, NJ.

Coverage of the poll results will be featured across WGBH platforms. The WGBH 2017 Mayoral Debate will be moderated by Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and will include a studio audience. It will air live on 89.7 WGBH Radio, WGBH 2 television, stream on wgbhnews.org and on the WGBH News app. #WGBHDebate on social media.

Click here for the complete survey results.

About WGBH News

WGBH News is among the fastest growing local news providers in greater Boston and draws on the talent of a multi-platform newsroom that includes 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR, television and digital reporting. The WGBH newsroom continues to invest in substantive local coverage and has established dedicated desks for innovation, higher education and politics as well as unique partnerships to expand on that commitment, including with WNYC’s The Takeaway, PRI’s The World, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, and The GroundTruth Project.




WGBH Media Relations

Emily Balk

Catherine Burke