In these partisan times, Baker’s popularity might seem a bit out of place. So what’s going on?
Baker is a moderate, or perhaps even a liberal, Republican — The Massachusetts governor announced publicly that he would not vote for Trump (or Clinton) in 2016. He opposed efforts by Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal Obamacare and Trump’s ban on people from certain countries, many of which are majority-Muslim, from traveling to the U.S. In the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, he has spoken in favor of more gun control measures. He supports abortion rights.
At the same time, Baker does not go out of his way to bash Trump, the way, say, his fellow Republican governor John Kasich of Ohio has. Baker’s approach to Trump may be why Republicans in his state are largely still on his side — 72 percent of registered Republicans in the MassINC poll said they had a favorable view of him. (Massachusetts Republicans, voters and elected officials, also tend to be more liberal than Republicans in other states, so they may be pragmatic enough to embrace a governor who is so broadly popular.)