Massachusetts primary voters are feeling the Bern, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling. But the same cannot be said of most states voting in early March.
Bernie Sanders was the favored candidate of 49 percent of likely Democratic voters surveyed in Massachusetts, seven percentage points ahead of Hillary Clinton at 42 percent. About three-quarters of those polled said they are “firmly committed’’ to their decision.
The poll was based on 538 interviews and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.
It’s quite a shift from the last poll of primary voters in the Bay State. Back in November, Clinton dominated Sanders by 25 percentage points in a poll from Suffolk University.
The Public Policy Polling results released on Wednesday show Sanders with leads on issues close to his platform of economic inequality. By a 59 to 27 percent margin, Massachusetts likely primary voters said they trust Sanders more than Clinton to crack down on Wall Street. And 54 percent said they trust Sanders to pursue policies that would raise the incomes of average Americans, compared to 34 percent for Clinton.
But Massachusetts voters trust that Clinton would be more prepared to be commander in chief by a 65 to 26 percent margin, according to the poll. She also scores highly when asked which candidate voters trust to handle women’s issues.
Despite his lead in Massachusetts, Sanders might not feel great about the poll results. Of the 12 states surveyed, all of which have primary elections in early March, just Massachusetts and Vermont favor Sanders, according to PPP. Clinton leads the other 10 states, and she holds double-digit leads in nine of them.
The difference between support in Massachusetts and those states is largely due to racial demographics. Clinton has the “overwhelming’’ support of black voters, PPP notes, and she holds significant leads in states that have higher than average populations of black voters.
In Massachusetts, 8.3 percent of residents are black, according to the U.S. Census. That’s well below the national average of 13.2 percent.
The PPP results show that African-American Democratic primary voters in Massachusetts actually favor Sanders by a 62 to 35 percent margin. But PPP’s Tom Jensen said that was a small sample of about 30 people, and advised not to take too much away from it.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that all 12 states polled vote on March 1, also known as Super Tuesday.