Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The rise of internet polling—more adults have internet access than a landline telephone

One surprising graph tells the story
by BRENT BENSON

There is an ongoing battle in the polling and survey community about the relative benefits of live caller polling vs. automated polling vs. internet polling. Live caller polling is considered the gold standard polling, in large part because human survey operators are allowed to call cell phone numbers, giving them a more representative sample of respondents. Pollsters who use automated systems are prohibited from calling cell phones, and therefore resort to extensive demographic-based weighting to compensate. However, live caller polling is expensive.

There has been an uptick in internet-based polling by pollsters like YouGov that have their own sampling problems, but are able to reach large panels of respondents and use weighting to achieve accurate results. There is a nice overview of internet-based polling by Nate Cohn in the Upshot.

The following graph shows why Internet polling may be the wave of the future. The percentage of US adults that use the internet passed the percentage of adults that have a landline phone in 2010 and is approaching 90%, while the number of adults with a landline has fallen to 60%.

Landline phones vs. Internet use graph

The combination of lower response rates for tradition telephone-based polling, the steady rise of internet usage by the U.S. population, and the refinement of online panel weighting techniques, makes it likely that we will see increased reliance on internet polling in the coming years.

Data

  • Internet usage data: Pew Research - Percent of U.S. adults who use the internet
  • Landline telephone usage data: CDC - Percent of U.S. adults with landline phone
  • Raw data spreadsheet

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Charlie Baker's underperformance was three times greater than Martha Coakley's

Baker underperforms polling by 24 points, Coakley by 8
by BRENT BENSON

The performance of the primary candidates for Massachusetts Governor on September 9 seem to indicate a voter turnout similar to that predicted by the Boston Herald/Suffolk University poll of the primary released on August 25. The poll had a very tight screen for likely voters, requiring that the respondents be able to identify—in some fashion—when the primary was occurring.

The Herald/Suffolk poll showed a tighter race than other polls on both the Democratic and Republican sides. While all of the polls got the ordering of the results correctly, the Herald/Suffolk poll came closest to the actual margins.

After the election pundits like Scot Lehigh posited that Coakley's underperformance compared to the polls indicates weakness, while there is very little talk about how much Charlie Baker underperformed against Tea Party rival Mark Fisher when compared to the same polls.

Let's look at the numbers.

Performance on nominees compared to polls

If you take the Herald/Suffolk poll results and normalize them into election results by removing the undecideds, it predicts Coakley at 48% and Grossman at 34% for a 14 point win. The preliminary results show Coakley with 42% and Grossman with 36%, a 6 point winning margin.

On the GOP side the poll predicted Baker with 86% and Fisher with 14%, a whopping 72 point win. The preliminary results have Baker with 74% and Fisher with 26%, a 49 point margin.

If pundits are going to make an issue of Coakley's 8 point underperformance, then it also needs to apply the same standard to Charlie Baker who underperformed by three times as much.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What are the regional strengths of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates?

What polling tells us about areas of strength and weakness for the primary candidates
by BRENT BENSON

It is primary election day in Massachusetts. While we wait for tonight's election returns I decided to look at the regional performance of the Democratic candidates for Governor to see if there were any surprises.

I used the cross-tabs from the last three Boston Globe/SocialSphere polls because they used the same regional breakdowns and gave a reasonable sample size when averaged across all the three polls. I could have gone back farther to get a larger sample, but I wanted a relatively recent snapshot.

My table shows how each candidate performed across the complete set of three polls and all regions (the All column), and for each region provides the candidate's percentage, and a ± number showing how regional performance compared to overall performance. There is a proportionately-sized blue bar for over-performance compared to the candidate's overall performance, and red bar for under-performance.

MA Gov Dem candidate regional performance

The Metro Boston region was closest to the state as a whole with Martha Coakley even, Steve Grossman -2, and Don Berwick +1, and also an almost average percentage of undecided voters.

Martha Coakley did well in the Cape and Islands, Merrimack Valley, and South of Boston regions (+5, +6, +7) and poorly in the Inside 128, Metro West, and South Shore regions (-7, -7, -10).

Steve Grossman excelled in the Merrimack Valley, Inside 128, and South Shore regions (+5, +9, +12), and had more trouble in Western Massachusetts and in the Cape and Islands (-8, -9). Grossman actually tied Coakley on the South Shore, where he was +12 and Coakley was -10.

Don Berwick did exceptionally well in the Metro West region at +9 and tied Steve Grossman who was -4 west of Boston. He did not do as well on the North Shore or South Shore (-6, -8).

The Western Massachusetts region had the highest number of undecided voters at 31% (+12), while the Merrimack Valley region had the fewest with 9% (-10).

We can keep an eye out for unexpectedly high turnouts on the South Shore—which would improve Steve Grossman's overall performance—or in Metro West—which would be great for Don Berwick. However, Martha Coakley's polling margins are big enough in enough regions that strong regional turnouts are very unlikely to change the final result.

Monday, September 8, 2014

How definitive are the Democratic Primary polls for Governor, LG, AG, and treasurer?

One race is easy—the rest have some favorites but no clear winner
by BRENT BENSON

I have been keeping track of the polling averages for the Democratic Primary for Massachusetts Governor, and I also put together polling averages for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Treasurer for a contest entry. But how clear are the polls of these races and what are the likely range of outcomes? The short answer is that there is very little variation in the polls for Governor and unless there is some systematic problem with the polls or samples, Martha Coakley is likely to be Democratic nominee for Governor. The down-ballot races are less conclusive because of larger variation, larger numbers of undecided errors, and small differences between some candidates when averaging the polls.

I have used probability distributions to get a visual feel for the polling data in each race, using the straight average of the most recent polls to establish the center of the probability distribution, and the standard deviation to provide the width of the distribution.

MA Gov Polling Probability Distribution Graph

MA Gov Polling Averages

The story for the gubernatorial race is clear—Martha Coakley has led in every poll and there is a big enough gap that there is very little chance that Steve Grossman or Don Berwick can win, unless there was something systematically wrong with the polling. This holds for the more permissive likely voter model used by most of the polls, and even the very tight likely voter model used by the Suffolk/Herald poll.

LG Polling Probability Distribution Graph

LG Polling Averages

The polls for Lieutenant Governor show a clear front runner in Steve Kerrigan, but openings for the other candidates in terms of a very large undecided voter poll. If forced to make a bet, Kerrigan would be the obvious choice, but you could very well lose, depending on how the undecided voters move.

AG Polling Probability Distribution Graph

AG Polling Averages

While Maura Healey was way ahead in the most recent Boston Globe/Social Sphere poll, the unweighted average and median of the recent polls show a dead heat. Given Healey's large lead in the most recent poll and her slight edge in the average, she deserves to be the slight favorite. However, that advantage rests solely on the most recent poll—it is not a robust and safe lead.

Treasurer Polling Probability Distribution Graph

Treasurer Polling Averages

The Treasurer's race is about as close to a toss-up as you can get. Deb Goldberg leads Barry Finegold by a razor's edge in the unweighted average, and Finegold is just ahead in the median (which is less responsive to outliers). There has been more variation in Finegold's numbers and there remain a large number of undecided voters. Finegold and Goldberg have the edge of Tom Conroy, but anyone could win this race to be the Democratic nominee for Treasurer.

Friday, September 5, 2014

My finely crafted model for winning the Boston Magazine primary prediction contest and why it is likely to lose

Is it possible to predict how many votes a candidate will get in a low turnout primary?
by BRENT BENSON

Premier Massachusetts political writer David Bernstein unveiled the following election prediction contest on September 2:
Your challenge: predict the order, from most to least votes received, of the candidates in the four competitive Democratic primaries. That is, total number of votes—regardless of what race they’re in—with 1 being the highest total and 11 being the lowest.
The Democratic primary races and candidates to be considered are Governor (Martha Coakley, Steve Grossman, Don Berwick), Lieutenant Governor (Steve Kerrigan, Mike Lake, Leland Cheung), Attorney General (Maura Healey, Warren Tolman), and Treasurer (Barry Finegold, Deb Goldberg, Tom Conroy).

A simple approach would be to use an average of the polls to estimate the proportion of votes received by each candidate. The problem is that some voters only vote for Governor, leaving the rest of the ballot blank. Some voters choose two or three candidates. And there is a certain kind of voter—you know who you are—who religiously fills in an oval for every down-ballot race.

We are left with the conundrum: how can we estimate the percentage of people that will actually vote for a candidate in each of these races?

My hypothesis—born out by a limited amount of data from the 2002 and 2006 Massachusetts gubernatorial elections—is that there is a relationship between the percentage of undecided voters in pre-primary polling and the percentage of blanks left by voters in the actual election.

The relationship between undecided poll numbers and blank votes

I compiled a list of polls and election results from contested Democratic primary races in the 2002 and 2006 Massachusetts primaries, putting together the following table.

Undecideds vs. Blanks - 2002, 2006 - Table

Regression analysis of these data show a strong linear relationship between the percentage of polled undecideds and the percentage of blanks on election day, although there is a fairly wide confidence interval (as large as plus or minus 5 points), one big element of uncertainty in my model.

Undecideds vs. Blanks - 2002, 2006 - Graph

The regression analysis gives this formula:

    Blank% = (0.439 * Undecided%) - 0.334

We can use this formula to convert the average of the undecided percentage for each race into an estimate of the number of blanks, and also the number of votes likely to be cast.

Putting it all together

I chose 650,000 as my arbitrary number of total voters—I didn't spend much time on that estimate as it isn't germane to the final ranking calculation with relative positions—and subtracted out the percentage of voters expected to not vote in each race, resulting in Estimated Non-Blank Votes. The next step was to take the polling average for each candidate, normalize it so that all of the candidates percentages add up to 100% as % of Non-Blank-Votes, and then multiply by the estimated non-blank votes for that race. The inputs to the model are shaded in green and the output ranking is in blue.

Vote estimation spreadsheet

The rankings are affected by the total voters in each race, but also by the number of candidates in the race and each candidate's relative strength (as estimated by the polls). The model predicts a win by Martha Coakley, who also is expected to garner the most votes. However, the other candidates for Governor are ranked in the middle and at the bottom of the vote count rankings.

Maura Healey and Warren Tolman are estimated to get the 2nd and 3rd most votes, largely because of the closeness of the race and the fact that there are only two candidates, but also because there seems to be more voter engagement—measured by a lower percentage of undecideds in the polls—when compared to LG and Treasurer races. Healey and Tolman could very well swap positions if the late-breaking Globe poll with Maura Healey up by 16 points turns out to be anomalous.

Next in rankings at 4 and 5 are the likely winners of the Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer races, Steve Kerrigan and Barry Finegold. Kerrigan ranks above Finegold because of more engagement in the LG race—based on the undecided percentage—and the fact that Kerrigan has a bigger lead. Finegold's lead over Deb Goldberg is very small—looking at the average of the polls—so the 5th and 6th places could easily end up swapped.

The remainder of the ranking slots are for candidates who are not expected to win, at least based on the most recent polling data. Treasurer candidate Tom Conroy and LG candidate Mike Lake are ranked 8 and 9, but their estimated number of votes are so close that the ordering could be considered a coin flip.

Why I expect this ranking to lose

I spent several hours working on this ranking and learned a lot from the exercise, but I still expect it to lose. There are two major sources of uncertainty that make the model likely to fail: 1) there is a great deal of uncertainty in the Undecided% to Blank% regression model due to small amount of data; and 2) there was a great deal of variability in the down-ballot poll results, especially with respect to the number of undecided voters, which are key to the calculation.

MassINC Pollster Steve Koczela makes the point that many voters who don't know much about the Lieutenant Governor race end up casting a vote anyway, with very unpredictable results. This is born out by our Undecided% to Blank% regression model which predicts that the 67% of undecideds polled in the LG race will result in 26% blanks in that race. That means that 41% of voters are unsure or undecided about Kerrigan, Lake, and Cheung, but will nevertheless cast a vote for one of them on September 9. While the top-of-the-ballot gubernatorial race has been reasonably consistent in polling, the down-ballot races make this model's prediction—or any prediction for LG, AG, or Treasurer—hard to make.

While it might not have produced better results, I could have gotten a better feel for the range of likely answers by encoding this spreadsheet in an executable model and then generating random inputs for the polling averages with probability distributions given by the average and standard deviation from the polls. Running this simulation thousands of times would likely give the same result, but also give a clearer picture of range possible—if less likely—rankings.

Polling Averages

Here are the averages I used as input to the calculation spreadsheet. In the end, I couldn't decide whether to use the time-weighted average, or the median of the latest polls (which is less affected by possible outliers, but also less responsive to possible electorate changes), so I split the difference.

MA Governor Polling Averages

MA Lieutenant Gov. Polling Averages

MA Attorney General Averages

MA Treasurer Polling Averages

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A look at the money going in and out of the MA legislative primary races

Looking at the most and least expensive primary campaigns
by BRENT BENSON

The deadline for Massachusetts State Primary candidates to file their campaign finance reports with the Office and Campaign and Political Finance was Tuesday, September 2. Candidates were required to report money raised and spent from January 1, 2014 to August 22, 2014. I have created a searchable and sortable spreadsheet with the data for every candidate reported to be on the ballot by the Secretary of State. This article focuses on the candidates that have opponents in the September 9 State Primary.

State Representative primary candidates with opponents

Of the 295 State Representative candidates on the ballot, 95 are in primaries with opponents. Here is the full list of candidates with primary opponents and the amounts with which they started the filing period (often $0 for first time candidates), the amounts they raised and spent from January 1 to August 22, and the ending balance on August 22. This list is sorted by District and Party, showing opponents next to each other.

The average amount raised by the opposed primary candidates is about $17,400 and the average amount spent is about $13,000. However, there is a fair amount of variability, with medians of approximately $10,600 and $8,400 for amount raised and spent.


                                                    Inc  Start  Raised  Spent    End
District       Pt Name                                                              
1st Barnstable D  Alexander R. Morash                     3671    7935   5864   5741
                  Elisa Beth Zawadzkas                       0   22306   6541  15765
                  Ian P. Ryan                                0   35710  10450  25260
2nd Bristol    R  Jeffrey R. Bailey                       8269   13676  19515   2430
                  Bert J. Buckley                         1917    8010   6637   3290
9th Bristol    D  Christopher Markey                INC  17321   19775  20568  16528
                  Alan D. Garcia                             0    6420      0   6420
1st Essex      D  Edward C. Cameron                         10   18799  14288   4521
                  Robert W. Lavoie                           0   13815  10957   2858
2nd Essex      R  Leonard Mirra                     INC  18001    6890   5713  19178
                  Edward H. Watson                           0    6350   1350   5000
5th Essex      R  Michael B. Boucher                         0   12710  12371    338
                  Robert V. Whynott                          0   10350   7359   2991
11th Essex     D  Brendan P. Crighton                     4487   40603  30359  14730
                  Charlie Gallo                              0   38730  26186  12544
                  Aikaterini Panagiotakis Koudanis           0     911    518    393
12th Essex     D  Beverley A. Griffin Dunne                NaN     NaN    NaN    NaN
                  James Moutsoulas                          10    6415   3741   2684
14th Essex     D  Diana Dizoglio                    INC  19650   33355  24242  28762
                  Oscar Camargo                              0   12605  11593   1011
                  Phil Decologero                            0   30063  23463   6601
2nd Franklin   R  Karen R. Anderson                          0   11159   9156   2003
                  Susannah M. Whipps Lee                  4415   30918  29969   5364
8th Hampden    D  Joseph F. Wagner                  INC   9074   51370  28709  31735
                  William C. Courchesne                      0      58     58      0
9th Hampden    D  Edward W. Collins, Jr.                 13100   32155  22283  22972
                  Peter Murphy                               0   19340  11390   7950
                  Jose F. Tosado                             0   16440  15493    947
10th Hampden   D  Carlos Gonzalez                           20    3825   3642    203
                  Ivette Hernandez                           0   13596   8266   5330
                  Melvin A. Edwards                       2695   13998  14721   1972
11th Hampden   D  Benjamin Swan                     INC   3158    5211   4415   3954
                  Larry Lawson                             NaN     NaN    NaN    NaN
13th Middlesex D  Carmine Lawrence Gentile                1750   16932  16367   2315
                  Brian J. Lefort                         2285    6160   3343   5102
18th Middlesex D  Brian J. Donovan                           0   12895   7856   5039
                  James Jim Leary                            0   10151   3549   6602
                  Rady Mom                                   0    8734  10474  -1740
                  David M. Ouellette                         0    6183   4486   1697
25th Middlesex D  Marjorie C. Decker                INC  19349   45096  36346  28099
                  Lesley Rebecca Phillips                  111    2475   1346   1239
28th Middlesex D  Wayne A. Matewsky                 INC    952   18380  18964    368
                  Joseph W. Mcgonagle, Jr.                  63   17380  15589   1854
31st Middlesex D  Michael Bettencourt                        0   14300   9034   5266
                  Michael Seamus Day                      3622   68450  37767  34305
33rd Middlesex D  Neil C. Kinnon                             0   44850  33553  11297
                  Steven Ultrino                           682   52535  49981   3236
34th Middlesex D  Christine P. Barber                      570   50286  42908   7948
                  Erin A. Dibenedetto                      180   20864  12192   8852
                  Sharon K. Guzik                         1224    9066   6590   3700
                  Craig E. Rourke                            0    8250   8034    216
5th Plymouth   R  David F. Decoste                         690    6959   5688   1961
                  Louis U. Valanzola                         0    9216   8134   1082
10th Plymouth  D  Paul L. Beckner                            0    8057   6908   1149
                  Peggy Curtis                               0    8160   6304   1856
                  Michelle M. Dubois                         0   14110   9454   4656
               R  John F. Cruz                              27   13088   5620   7495
                  Colleen R. Maloney                      3801    9550   7348   6003
2nd Suffolk    D  Daniel Joseph Ryan                INC   1605   25326  21905   5027
                  Roy A. Avellaneda                      -5681    3555    515  -2642
5th Suffolk    D  Evandro C. Carvalho               INC   2737    8675   4177   7235
                  Karen A. Charles-Peterson                NaN     NaN    NaN    NaN
                  Althea Garrison                            0    1808   1808      0
7th Suffolk    D  Gloria L. Fox                     INC    932    6685   1412   6205
                  Eric M. Esteves                        10369   11032  10579  10823
                  Rufus J. Faulk                           NaN     NaN    NaN    NaN
12th Suffolk   D  Dan Cullinane                     INC   1243   69656  57782  13117
                  Corey J. Allen                          1858    8278   8580   1556
                  Ruthella J. Logan-Cruz                   100       0     80     20
                  Carlotta M. Williams                       2    2751    523   2231
14th Suffolk   D  Angelo M. Scaccia                 INC  27103   10705  16955  20853
                  Anthony Joseph Solimine                    0    5687   5646     40
5th Worcester  D  Matthew Castriotta                         0    9902   9186    716
                  George Yiantsidis                          0    2000   1525    475
               R  Donald R. Berthiaume, Jr.                  0   10525   7069   3456
                  Stephen J. Comtois Ii                    324    2158   1834    648
                  Jennifer J. Gaucher                        0    5159   5159      0
9th Worcester  R  Shawn Craig                                0   24250  17999   6251
                  David K. Muradian, Jr.                     0   32800  20712  12088
10th Worcester R  Christopher T. Kivior                      0    1045    800    245
                  Mark W. Reil, Jr.                         59    7665   2527   5197
15th Worcester D  Mary S. Keefe                     INC  21376   25740  13418  33698
                  Philip P. Palmieri                     51817    9819   8159  53477
                  Ralph Perez                              NaN     NaN    NaN    NaN
16th Worcester D  Daniel M. Donahue                 INC   7627   37873  24566  20934
                  Joshua Perro                             688  122530  97709  25509
17th Worcester D  Douglas A. Belanger                      455   26470  16002  10923
                  Moses S. Dixon                             0   15550   9398   6152
                  Michael J. Germain                      4815    6285   7984   3116
18th Worcester D  David P. Cortese                        2383    8490   9906    967
                  Mark G. Dowgiewicz                         0   15208   9158   6050
                  Brenda A. Ennis                          166    2993   1747   1412
               R  Charles G. Arakelian                       0    1702   1354    347
                  Jesse P. Limanek                           0    6585   3547   3038
                  Joseph D. Mckenna                       3755   10544   7603   6696

Grouping opponents together and sorting by money spent shows the range of money spent from the most expensive race, to the least. The 16th Worcester Democratic primary between freshman State Rep. Daniel Donahue and previous primary opponent Joshua Perro is the most expensive by far. Perro raised $122,530, largely through loans and donations to his own campaign, a very large amount for a new candidate. He also spent $97,709 four times as much as incumbent Donahue.

The race to replace State Rep. Christopher Fallon is also an expensive race. Candidates Neil Kinnon and Steven Ultrino raising almost $100,00 and spending over $80,000 in the 33rd Middlesex Democratic primary race.

                   Start  Raised   Spent    End                                    Last
District       Pt                                                                      
16th Worcester D    8315  160403  122275  46443                          Donahue, Perro
33rd Middlesex D     682   97385   83534  14533                         Kinnon, Ultrino
34th Middlesex D    1974   88466   69724  20716      Barber, DiBenedetto, Guzik, Rourke
12th Suffolk   D    3203   80685   66965  16924  Cullinane, Allen, Logan-Cruz, Williams
14th Essex     D   19650   76023   59298  36374           Dizoglio, Camargo, DeCologero
11th Essex     D    4487   80244   57063  27667  Crighton, Gallo, Panagiotakis Koudanis
9th Hampden    D   13100   67935   49166  31869            Collins, Jr., Murphy, Tosado
31st Middlesex D    3622   82750   46801  39571                        Bettencourt, Day
2nd Franklin   R    4415   42077   39125   7367                           Anderson, Lee
9th Worcester  R       0   57050   38711  18339                    Craig, Muradian, Jr.
25th Middlesex D   19460   47571   37692  29338                        Decker, Phillips
28th Middlesex D    1015   35760   34553   2222                     Matewsky, McGonagle
17th Worcester D    5270   48305   33384  20191                Belanger, Dixon, Germain
8th Hampden    D    9074   51428   28767  31735                      Wagner, Courchesne
10th Hampden   D    2715   31419   26629   7505            Gonzalez, Hernandez, Edwards
18th Middlesex D       0   37963   26365  11598          Donovan, Leary, Mom, Ouellette
2nd Bristol    R   10186   21686   26152   5720                         Bailey, Buckley
1st Essex      D      10   32614   25245   7379                         Cameron, Lavoie
1st Barnstable D    3671   65951   22855  46766                 Morash, Zawadzkas, Ryan
10th Plymouth  D       0   30327   22666   7661                 Beckner, Curtis, DuBois
14th Suffolk   D   27103   16392   22601  20893                       Scaccia, Solimine
2nd Suffolk    D   -4076   28881   22420   2385                        Ryan, Avellaneda
15th Worcester D   73193   35559   21577  87175                  Keefe, Palmieri, Perez
18th Worcester D    2549   26691   20811   8429              Cortese, Dowgiewicz, Ennis
9th Bristol    D   17321   26195   20568  22948                          Markey, Garcia
5th Essex      R       0   23060   19730   3329                        Boucher, Whynott
13th Middlesex D    4035   23092   19710   7417                         Gentile, LeFort
5th Worcester  R     324   17842   14062   4104    Berthiaume, Jr., Comtois II, Gaucher
5th Plymouth   R     690   16175   13822   3043                      DeCoste, Valanzola
10th Plymouth  R    3828   22638   12968  13498                           Cruz, Maloney
18th Worcester R    3755   18831   12504  10081             Arakelian, Limanek, McKenna
7th Suffolk    D   11301   17717   11991  17028                     Fox, Esteves, Faulk
5th Worcester  D       0   11902   10711   1191                  Castriotta, Yiantsidis
2nd Essex      R   18001   13240    7063  24178                           Mirra, Watson
5th Suffolk    D    2737   10483    5985   7235    Carvalho, Charles-Peterson, Garrison
11th Hampden   D    3158    5211    4415   3954                            Swan, Lawson
12th Essex     D      10    6415    3741   2684                       Dunne, Moutsoulas
10th Worcester R      59    8710    3327   5442                       Kivior, Reil, Jr.

At the other end of the spectrum,  candidates Christopher Kivior and Mark Reil spent just over $3,000 in their bid to unseat Democratic State Representative John Fernandes of the 10th Worcester District.

The primary candidates for the 12th Essex Democratic nomination, Beverley Griffin Dunne and James Moutsoulas have also spent less than $4,000. The winner will face Republican Leah Cole in November.

State Senate primary candidates with opponents

There are 74 candidates that have qualified for the State Senate ballot, and 23 of those candidates have opponents in 9 separate primaries, with 7 Democratic primaries and 2 Republican primaries. The average amount raised and spent by the Senate candidates is about $40,000 and $34,000, with medians of about $27,000 and $21,000, reflecting the higher visibility and large districts of State Senators.

                                                           Inc   Start  Raised   Spent     End
District                     Pt Name                                                          
Cape & Islands               R  Ronald R. Beaty, Jr.                 0     591     591       0
                                Allen R. Waters                      0    6842    4124    2718
1st Essex                    D  Kathleen A. O'Connor Ives  INC    8805   56645   43515   21936
                                Jessica L. Finocchiaro               0   24150   20579    3571
1st Hampden & Hampshire      D  Timothy C. Allen                  5652   61280   66444     489
                                James Chip Harrington             2692   38234   37772    3154
                                Thomas A. Lachiusa                   0    3725    3208     517
                                Eric Philip Lesser                   0  302898  250840   52057
                                Aaron L. Saunders                  242   32220   29389    3073
1st Worcester                D  Harriette L. Chandler      INC  182870   31480   59352  154998
                                William Feegbeh                    NaN     NaN     NaN     NaN
                                Sean M. Maher                        0   11009   10305     704
Norfolk, Bristol & Middlesex D  Dylan Hayre                       7956   29449   19861   17544
                                Sara Lynn Reynolds               10716   40865   35052   16529
2nd Essex & Middlesex        D  Barbara A. L'Italien               380   56919   36165   21134
                                Pavel M. Payano                   1238   21692   17820    5110
                                Doris V. Rodriguez                 NaN     NaN     NaN     NaN
2nd Hampden & Hampshire      D  Christopher J. Hopewell            159   13411   13307     263
                                Patrick T. Leahy                     0   27275   24120    3155
2nd Suffolk                  D  Sonia Rosa Chang-Diaz      INC  109263   13890     907  122246
                                Roy Owens                            0       0       0       0
Worc, Hmpdn, Hmpsh & Mdlsx   R  James P. Ehrhard                 14174   25120   23654   15640
                                Michael J. Valanzola             13782   33233   21071   25945

The most expensive State Senate race, by far, is the 1st Hampden & Hampshire race for the open seat being left by Gail Candaras, where the five candidates spent close to $400,000. The lions share of that money came from former White House aide Eric Lesser who raised over $300,000 and spent about $250,000. Lesser's donor list makes a great read with big name contributors like David Axlerod, Stephanie Cutter, and David Plouffe.

                                  Start  Raised   Spent     End                                           Last
District                     Pt                                                                               
1st Hampden & Hampshire      D     8586  438357  387653   59290  Allen, Harrington, Lachiusa, Lesser, Saunders
1st Worcester                D   182870   42489   69657  155702                       Chandler, Feegbeh, Maher
1st Essex                    D     8805   80795   64094   25507                     O'Connor Ives, Finocchiaro
Norfolk, Bristol & Middlesex D    18672   70314   54913   34073                                Hayre, Reynolds
2nd Essex & Middlesex        D     1618   78611   53985   26244                   L'Italien, Payano, Rodriguez
Worc, Hmpdn, Hmpsh & Mdlsx   R    27956   58353   44725   41585                             Ehrhard, Valanzola
2nd Hampden & Hampshire      D      159   40686   37427    3418                                Hopewell, Leahy
Cape & Islands               R        0    7433    4715    2718                             Beaty, Jr., Waters
2nd Suffolk                  D   109263   13890     907  122246                              Chang-Diaz, Owens

On the other end of the spectrum there is the Democratic primary between Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and abortion opponent Roy Owens where only 907 dollars were spent by Chang-Diaz.

Make sure to check out the searchable/sortable spreadsheet of all ballot candidates to get a feel for the fundraising of candidates of candidates who only have a general election challenger, or no challenger at all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Polling Averages for 2014 Massachusetts Governor's Race

Including averages for name recognition, the Democratic primary race, and select general election match-ups
by BRENT BENSON

Last updated 9/4/2014

There has been regular polling of the 2014 Massachusetts Governor's Race to replace two-term Governor Deval Patrick, including the three Democrats—Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steve Grossman, and healthcare advocate Donald Berwick, de facto Republican nominee Charlie Baker, and Independent candidates Jeff McCormick and Evan Falchuk.

Looking at a range of polls collectively and combining their results through averaging helps to reduce uncertainty and provide more robust results. The averages in this article cover name recognition of the major candidates, the Democratic primary—the slate has been set since the Democratic State Convention in June, and three iterations of the possible general election match-ups between each of the three Democrats, the Republican, and two Independents. I include all of the non-partisan, public polls since the convention which include these match-ups.

Name Recognition

The number of people that know and have an opinion of the major candidates remained virtually constant through the months of June and July, while showing signs of a small uptick for the lesser-known candidates in August. Attorney General and former U.S. Senate candidate Martha Coakley enjoys name recognition of 90 percent of likely voters. Former Weld administration official and investor Charlie Baker is known to close to 70 percent of voters. Treasurer and convention winner Steve Grossman finally broke through to 50 percent of the electorate in August, and healthcare reformer and former Obama administration official Don Berwick is struggling for name recognition and is approaching 20 percent.

MA Gov. Name Recognition Graph

MA Gov. Name Recognition Table

Democratic Primary

Attorney General Coakley has led in every poll of the Democratic primary, but her share has fallen from above 50 percent, to the mid-40s in the more recent polls. The number of undecided voters has finally started to fall in August and Grossman and Berwick have started to make inroads with those undecideds. Both Steve Grossman and Don Berwick's percentages have moved above the undecided share in the most recent Suffolk poll, which featured a very tight likely voter screen. Grossman moved within 12 points of Coakley in the Herald/Suffolk poll, but fell back to >20 point gap in recent polls. Some of the tightening was likely due to the Herald/Suffolk polls tighter voter screen leading to a sample with more knowledge of Grossman and Berwick. Berwick is doing well with voters who recognize his name, but he still has a wide name-recognition gap and has yet to break the 20 point barrier.

MA Gov. Democratic Primary Polling Graph

MA Gov. Democratic Primary Polling Table

General election match-ups: Martha Coakley vs. Charlie Baker

Martha Coakley held a lead in every poll in a head-to-head matchup with Charlie Baker until the most recent Globe poll which had Baker up by one point. The averages still give Coakley the edge, but it is clear that the hypothetical matchup is tightening. Independent candidates McCormick and Falchuk show no sign of catching fire, with low-single digit averages. The number of undecided voters has been as high as 27 percent in the WBUR poll, and as low as 16 percent, averaging out to 20 percent.

MA Gov. Coakley vs. Baker graph

MA Gov. Coakley vs. Baker table

Steve Grossman vs. Charlie Baker

There has been less consistency in the Grossman/Baker pairing, but the recent polls show Baker ahead of Grossman by a few points. The 7/29 SocialSphere poll showed almost equal percentages of respondents choosing Baker, Grossman, and Undecided (31, 30, 31). The time-weighted average shows Baker up 3 points on Grossman.

MA Gov. Grossman vs. Baker graph

MA Gov. Grossman vs. Baker table

Don Berwick vs. Charlie Baker

While Don Berwick's numbers had been rising when positioned against Charlie Baker in the general election, the trend may have reversed and Baker has consistently held a lead of over 10 points over Berwick in the hypothetical matchup.

MA Gov. Berwick vs. Baker graph

MA Gov. Berwick vs. Baker table

Polls