A new poll released Monday shows voter support for Question 1 on the Massachusetts ballot has swayed, with a majority of voters surveyed now in opposition to the measure to limit the number of patients assigned to nurses just ahead of next week’s election.
The Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll found 58.8 percent of the 500 likely Nov. 6 election voters surveyed are against the ballot initiative — a sharp shift in support since last month when 52 percent of voters polled in favor, according to the study.
The measure, if passed, would put in place staffing ratios that would limit the number of patients a nurse could be assigned at a given time at Massachusetts hospitals and health clinics. The limit would vary depending on certain conditions, although the maximum limit would be four patients per nurse in most hospital departments.
Proponents have said such a measure would help alleviate the responsibilities placed on nurses while also making for safer conditions for patients. Opponents, however, have said the initiative is too rigid and would be very costly to put in place.
Both sides have pointed to different projections of what the cost would actually be, although the state Health Policy Commission backed up one study earlier this month, saying the measure would carry upwards of a $900 million price tag per year.
The latest poll — which carries a +/-4.4 percent margin of error — shows 31.6 percent of voters surveyed indicated they would support the ballot question. Last month, 33 percent of voters said they were opposed.
Nine percent of the voters surveyed last week said they are undecided.
Despite the studies and numerous political ads, most voters polled said those sources didn’t play the biggest role in their decision making.
Nearly 44 percent of voters surveyed said the most influential factor behind their forthcoming vote was the input of a nurse they know personally, according to poll results.
Polling officials say the swift change in direction was supported across all voting demographics, although independents demonstrated the biggest change in points within the past month, swinging from favoring Question 1 by 57 percent to opposing it by 61 percent.
Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren still have significant leads, poll says
The survey also shows that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren have maintained their leads in the past month, with Baker receiving 65.4 percent of voter support and Warren garnering 55.6 percent.
Baker is facing Democrat Jay Gonzalez, who polled at 26 percent, in next week’s election. Nearly 8 percent of voters were undecided.
Warren has two challengers: Republican Geoff Diehl, who polled at 34.4 percent, and Independent Shiva Ayyadurai, who received 4.4 percent of voter support in the poll. Undecided voters made up 5.4 percent of the survey.
For Warren, 46.2 percent of voters also agreed her release of a DNA test this month confirming she is between 1/64th and 1/1024th Native American “puts to rest questions about her claims of Native American Ancestry.”
But 30.6 percent of voters said the findings raise questions around her claims, while 21.2 percent are undecided, according to poll data.
Voters are also split over whether Warren should have taken and released the test with an extremely slight majority, or 43 percent, answering ‘Yes’ and 42.2 percent responding ‘No.’ A little over 13 percent of voters said they are undecided.
A large majority of voters, 68.2 percent, still do not believe she should run for president in 2020.
No major shifts for other ballot questions in the past month
Question 2, which if passed would create a “Citizens Commission” to form an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling and regulate campaign spending, garnered 57.6 percent of voters in favor of the measure, with 26.4 percent against it, and 15.8 percent undecided.
Last month, voters polled 72 percent in favor and 20 percent against it.
For Question 3, in which a “Yes” vote would keep in place a law that prohibits discrimination against transgender people in places like restaurants, restrooms, and malls, 68 percent of voters are in support of retaining the law, poll results show. Approximately 28 percent of voters polled said they would vote against it, with 3.8 percent still undecided.
In September, 73 percent of voters said they were in support of a “Yes” vote, 17 percent supported a “No” vote, and 9 percent were undecided.