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A Survey of

Massachusetts Voters
Prepared for the Massachusetts ACLU

June 2017

Prepared by Anderson Robbins Research 6 Beacon Street, Suite 312 Boston, MA 02108 617.939.0125 www.AndersonRobbins.com
About the Survey
Mode Telephone survey conducted by trained professional interviewers from
a central, monitored location

Sample 618 Massachusetts registered voters

Interviewing Dates May 30 June 2, 2017

Weights Slight weights were applied to ensure the sample accurately reflects
the demographic profile of Massachusetts voters statewide

Margin of Error 4 at the 95% confidence level for the entire sample; the margin of
error for subgroups is higher

Note Some data may not add to 100% due to rounding

Less than half of voters think the criminal justice system is
working, and nearly three-quarters think it works differently for
different people.
Do you think that the criminal justice system in Do you think the criminal justice system in
Massachusetts is working or not? Massachusetts works the same for everyone,
or does it work differently for different people?

7% 7%



45% 48%
White: 71%, Black: 81%, Latino: 71%

Democrat: 73%
Republican: 73%
Independent: 72%

System is working Works the same for all

Not working Works differently for different people
(Not sure / Refused) (Not sure / Refused)
Massachusetts voters broadly agree that there is a race and
income bias in the criminal justice system.
MA should work to change the criminal justice MA should work to change the criminal justice
system, so that people are not treated differently system, so that people are not treated differently
based on who they know. based on the color of their skin.

3% 4%

88% 84%

Agree Disagree (Not sure / Refused) Agree Disagree (Not sure / Refused)

Q25. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with each of the following statements.
Half believe individual DAs have only a minor or insignificant
impact on the criminal justice system.

Major impact 43%

Minor impact 21%

System will be the same


Note: Remainder Not Sure / Refused

Q32. DAs are
elected by voters at the county level for four-year terms. Do you think who is elected has a real impact on how the
criminal justice system works, or do you think the system is basically going to work the same regardless of who is elected?
Nearly four-in-ten do not know that DAs are elected.

Elected 62%

Not elected 18%

(Not sure / Refused) 20%

Q31. As far as you know, are District Attorneys elected where you live?
Voters are much more likely to pay attention to DA elections after
hearing facts about their power and autonomy.

More likely 81%

(No change) 15%

Less likely 3%

Note: Remainder Not Sure / Refused

Q54. Does learning these facts on District Attorneys make you more or less likely to pay attention to Massachusetts
District Attorney elections in the future?
Voters see a commitment to racial justice as a more important
quality in a DA than experience as a prosecutor.

Very important
A reputation for honesty and doing
what is right

A commitment to racial justice 79%

A reputation for being nonpartisan

and nonpolitical

Experience as a prosecutor 65%

Experience with the MA prison

A commitment to prioritizing
rehabilitation over incarceration

Experience as a public defender 54%

Experience in social work or

criminal rehabilitation efforts

Q57-64. Im now going to list out some qualities and skills of candidates for DA. Please tell me if you think each is
very important for a candidate for DA to possess, somewhat important, not very important, or not at all important.