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Boston Mayor 2021: Michelle Wu Leads Mayoral Race by 30 Points

Key Takeaways
  • Majority (61%) support continuing mask mandate
  • Voters think Bruins will win City’s next championship
  • Majority support vaccine mandates for City workers

The latest Emerson College/WHDH poll finds Michelle Wu leading the Boston mayoral race at 61%, 30 points ahead of Annissa Essaibi-George, who is at 31%. Eight percent (8%) of polled voters remain undecided. 

When asked who they would vote for, those who did not vote in the mayoral primary were split between Essaibi-George and Wu (42% to 46%) with 12% undecided.

Wu leads among Democrats (72%), and Essaibi-George leads with Republicans (82%). Independents are split, with 45% supporting Wu, and 39% supporting Essaibi-George. Those with a college degree support Wu (70%) over Essaibi-George (30%), while those without a college degree are split 45% for both, with 10% undecided. 

Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters plan to vote in-person on Election Day, 10% plan to vote in-person but early, while 8% are voting through mail-in ballot. 10% of voters are unsure of how they will be voting. 

A majority (53%) of voters have not had a chance to meet either Wu or Essaibi-George, and a majority (63%) of voters state that endorsements of any kind will not impact their vote.

Voters were also asked to choose up to four candidates that they plan to vote for in the election for City Councilor at-large. 


Voters were asked what the next mayor’s top priority should be in their first 100 days. Twenty-eight percent (28%) believe the focus should be on housing, 21% on education/schools, 10% on police reform. Other priorities include crime (10%), Covid-19 (9%), jobs (8%), transportation (6%), and healthcare (3%) with 5% of voters supporting something else.

Essaibi-George voters identified education/schools (28%), crime (26%), and jobs (13%) as top issues while Wu voters prioritized housing (38%), education/schools (18%), and police reform (14%).

Generally speaking, a plurality (48%) of voters say that Boston is headed in the right direction, while 23% said it is headed in the wrong direction, and 29% were unsure. 

A majority (65%) of voters support an extension of the indoor mask mandate that is set to expire November 1st, with 21% opposing an extension, and 13% unsure.

When asked whether city workers should be subject to a vaccine mandate, a majority (74%) of voters believe there should be a mandate, while 19% oppose a vaccine mandate, and 7% unsure.

A plurality of voters (36%) say it’s very important that the next mayor enacts rent control while 28% think it’s not important at all. Twenty-two (22%) think it’s somewhat important, 8% not very important, and 6% unsure. 

The Bruins lead as the team respondents think will bring in the next championship for Boston, with 32%, with the Red Sox close behind at 27%. Twenty-two percent (22%) voted for the Celtics, and 20% for the Patriots. 

Caller ID

The Boston Mayoral poll was conducted October 26-27, 2021. The sample consisted of Boston likely voters, n=500, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 4.3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by age, gender, education, race, party registration, and 2021 primary vote based on a 2021 turnout model. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample of SMS-to-web, an IVR system of landlines, and an online panel.

Key Takeaways
  • Majority (61%) support continuing mask mandate
  • Voters think Bruins will win City’s next championship
  • Majority support vaccine mandates for City workers
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