Monday, September 30, 2013

A look at polling averages, fundraising, and district overlap in competitive MA-5 Democratic primary

Clark leads in polling averages and fundraising, Sciortino ad making a difference, Koutoujian has been on the ballot for more MA-5 voters

The Democratic primary to fill the Massachusetts 5th Congressional seat vacated by Senator Ed Markey has drawn a deep and talented field, unsurprising given the safe Democratic nature of the seat (Obama +33, Warren +18) and the rarity of such an opening. The candidates include State Senator William Brownsberger of Belmont, State Senator Katherine Clark of Melrose, Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian of Newton, State Representative Carl Sciortino of Medford, and State Senator Karen Spilka of Ashland.

There has been only one public poll not affiliated with a campaign (from Emerson College Polling Society), but an average of all of the published polling numbers shows State Senator Katherine Clark as the leader. While Sciortino had been coming in below the other major candidates, the early polling came before his strong Tea-Party Dad advertisement, which captured national attention and seems to have had an effect on likely voters. Sciortino surpassed Will Brownsberger in the latest Gerstein Bocian Agne Strategies poll.

MA-5 polling average

Katherine Clark is also leading in fundraising, as reported in the FEC reports covering January 1 through June 30. Brownsberger and Sciortino are clustered at around 75% of Clark's total, Koutoujian is at 63%, and Spilka is far behind at well under half of Clark's total with 42%.

MA-5 Fundraising numbers

District overlap

Many of the 5th Congressional District voters have already seen one or more of these candidates on the ballot, and possibly voted for one of the candidates for State Rep., State Senator, or Sheriff. A full 93% of expected voters have seen Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian's name on a ballot in 2012, with smaller overlaps for Clark at 16%, 11% for State Senator Karen Spilka, 10% for State Senator William Brownsberger, and 3% for State Representative Carl Sciortino.

Existing district overlap (click for interactive map)

The estimated number of voters are based on the primary voters from each precinct who voted in the Markey/Lynch Democratic primary in April.

MA-5 district overlap table

Additional polling will help determine whether Carl Sciortino has been able to overcome his early low showing in the polls and lack of name recognition with his entertaining and powerful television advertisement. Katherine Clark has shown a consistent early lead in polling and fundraising, but the remaining candidates are within striking distance in what will likely be another low-turnout special election primary.

Poll listing

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A map of Boston mayoral precinct winners shows a remarkable neighborhood effect

Candidates other than Walsh and Connolly were able to show neighborhood strength

State Representative Marty Walsh and City Councilor John Connolly were the winners of the preliminary mayoral election, but a map highlighting the winner of each precinct shows that other candidates were able to show regional strength. An endorsement of either winner by any of the other regional winners could make a difference in the general election.

Precinct-by-precinct winners (click for interactive)

Walsh and Connolly did take the majority of the votes in major swaths of the city, Walsh concentrated in his district home in Dorchester and up through South Boston, and Connolly around his home of West Roxbury and also up into Copley and extending to East Boston.

Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley won areas of West Roxbury and City Councilor Rob Consalvo ran strong in his home area of Hyde Park.

Former State Representative Charlotte Golar Richie dominated in Roxbury, and John Barros was the top vote getter around his home area of Dudley Street.

City Councilor Felix Arroyo took home the most votes in Forest Hills and surrounding areas, and City Councilor Mike Ross did well in the area around his Back Bay city council district.

Walsh vs. Connolly Strength

The next map shows the difference between the Walsh and Connolly voter percentage in each of Boston's precincts.

Walsh vs. Connolly strength (click for interactive)

John Connolly was ahead of Marty Walsh 153 precincts, by an average of 10 points. Walsh beat Connolly in 102 precincts, but by a larger average of 16 points, accounting for his overall win.

Connolly's best precinct over Walsh was Ward 5, Precinct 3 on Beacon Hill, where his margin was 35 points. Walsh's best precinct over Connolly was Ward 16, Precinct 12 around Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester where he beat Connolly by a whopping 70 points.

Walsh can once again win in the general election by winning fewer precincts overwhelmingly, but support from any of the regional winners could go a long way towards a win for either candidate.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Boston mayor polling averages show John Connolly as clear leader

Walsh in second place, Richie gaining, Conley holding on

Recent polls by WBUR/MassINC and Boston Herald/Suffolk, when taken together and averaged with previous polling, show City Councilor John Connolly as a clear leader in the Boston mayoral race, with a strong likelihood of surviving as one of the two first-round winners on September 24. State Representative Marty Walsh has held a consistent second place spot in the polls, but is seeing pressure from former State Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie, who has shown the biggest gains between the earliest polls and this week's surveys. Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley holds third place in the averages, but has been losing ground to Richie.

The time-weighted average, which gives larger weights to more recent polls, has Connolly at 15.0%, Walsh with 11.6%, and Conley and Richie virtually tied at 9.7% and 9.6%, respectively. The Gain column in the table shows the difference between the time-weighted average and the straight average, giving some indication of momentum and gain in more recent polls.

Boston mayoral polling averages chart

The next tier of candidates above 6% are City Councilors Felix Arroyo and Rob Consalvo. Arroyo has shown some gains in later polls and Consalvo has had a small drop-off.

While there is always a chance that the polling is flawed, or there are large pockets of unpolled voters that could put Mike Ross, Bill Walczak, or the Boston Globe-endorsed John Barros in the top two on election day, it is unlikely, given the consistency of the polls from July through September. Walczak has shown the most momentum from this group, while Ross has shown a consistent 5 to 6% in every poll.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Partisan rankings for tomorrow's three State Rep. special elections indicate likely Democratic wins


On Tuesday, September 10 there will be three special elections to fill vacant State Representative seats, the 12th Suffolk District in Dorchester, the 16th Worcester District in the southern part of Worcester, and the 6th Bristol District in Fall River. The 12th Suffolk is overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic and should be a sure win for Dan Cullinane. President Obama and Senator Warren won both the 16th Worcester and 6th Bristol by very large margins, and wins by Daniel Donahue and Carole Fiola are also likely.

Open district partisan rankings chart

12th Suffolk State Representative District

12th Suffolk Rep. District

Previously held by Senator Linda Dorcena Forry who resigned after being elected as State Senator for the First Suffolk district. The district is overwhelmingly Democratic—ranked 6/160—with President Obama winning the district by 80 points and Senator Warren beating Scott Brown by 72 points.

16th Worcester State Representative District

16th Worcester Rep. District

Previously held by Rep. John Fresolo who resigned the seat. The district is very Democratic—ranked 48/160—with President Obama winning the district by 42 points and Senator Warren beating Scott Brown by 26 points.

  • Carol Claros (R) - Considered a promising candidate by Republicans, a long-shot in this heavily Democratic district -
  • Daniel Donahue (D) - Director of Policy and Assistant Chief of Staff to Worcester Mayor Joe Petty -

6th Bristol State Representative District

6th Bristol Rep. District

Previously held by Rep. David Sullivan who resigned to take a position with the Fall River Housing Authority. The district is very Democratic—ranked 49/160—with President Obama winning the district by 40 points and Senator Warren beating Scott Brown by 26 points.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Massachusetts union membership increasing despite downward national trend

Union membership has been steadily declining in the United States since the 1970s and shows few signs of slowing at a national level as more states establish restrictions on public employee and other labor unions.

While Massachusetts did have a similar plunge in union membership from the 1970s through the early 2000s, there has been a recent uptick in union employee coverage. The increase began in 2007, starting from a low below 14% to a current level above 16%. The recent maximum was a coverage level of 18%, achieved in 2009.

This graph shows the overall U.S. percentage of union employee coverage vs. that in Massachusetts (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics), including a trend line showing increasing union membership in the Commonwealth compared to the nation as a whole.

Union membership, MA vs. US