Somewhat lost in dueling media stories, Boston City Council debates and a paid advertising campaign by the real estate industry was how real voters feel about rent control.
So we decided to ask them – and the answer came back very clearly:
Voters statewide, by a wide majority, support rent control. (65% vs. 25%).
We tested this issue two ways: (1) a straight rent control referendum on the 2024 ballot, and (2) a question about some of the specifics from Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s rent stabilization proposal.
As you can see, both are very popular:
If there were a question on the 2024 general election ballot that would give cities and towns the ability to institute rent control, how would you vote?
36% Definitely vote yes
29 Probably vote yes
10 Probably vote no
15 Definitely vote no
10 Not sure
65 Total Support
25 Total Oppose
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is pushing a proposal to stabilize rents by limiting rent increases to no more than 6 to 10% each year. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
40% Strongly support
28 Somewhat support
7 Somewhat oppose
15 Strongly oppose
10 Not sure
68 Total Support
22 Total Oppose
INSIDE THE DATA
Here are some interesting observations from the survey:
1. Rent control is supported by a clear majority of voters in all parts of the state.
2. Rent control has wide support among both young and old voters.
69% of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 would vote yes on a rent control referendum, while 68% of voters ages 65 and above would do the same. When it comes to Mayor Wu’s proposal, the numbers jump slightly to 76% among young voters and 70% among seniors.
3. There are big differences in support by party affiliation.
The biggest differences in the poll were found between Democratic and Republican voters, which isn’t surprising in our current political environment. While Democrats would overwhelmingly support a rent control referendum (73% – 10%), it would lose among Republican voters (32% – 49%). True independents support the referendum 63% – 26%.
Interesting to note: Mayor Wu’s rent stabilization proposal does better among Republicans, still losing but by a slimmer margin (41% – 47%). It performs relatively the same with Democrats (85% – 8%) and true Independents (65% – 22%).
(Polling was conducted online from February 20-23, 2023 and has a margin of error of 3.9%. Using its Bias Correct Engine to attain a representative sample, Change Research polled 711 likely 2024 voters in Massachusetts. The survey was conducted for Northwind Strategies.)