Thursday, November 21, 2013

It is not clear that independent candidates hurt Charlie Baker's chances in 2014

Claim was made that Cahill hurt Baker in 2010, but polling shows he was a non-factor

A recent article in the Boston Globe—Independents may complicate Baker’s bid—attempts to make the case the independent candidates for Massachusetts Governor, like Jeffrey McCormick, might swing the 2014 race by taking votes from Republican Charlie Baker. A similar claim was made in the 2010 gubernatorial race about independent candidate Tim Cahill, but polling just before the election shows Cahill supporters were evenly split between Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker, making him a non-factor in the race.

Conventional wisdom in 2010 was that Tim Cahill's candidacy split the anti-incumbent vote and allowed Deval Patrick to beat Charlie Baker. However, a Suffolk University poll conducted just before the election showed Deval Patrick slightly ahead of Charlie Baker as the second choice for Cahill voters. In addition, all of the Jill Stein voters who had a second choice, chose Deval Patrick.

MA Gov. second choice, Suffolk poll

The poll would seem to indicate that Cahill was likely a non-factor, taking an even number of votes from Patrick and Baker, while Stein probably took votes only from Patrick (albeit a small number of votes given Stein's 1.4% share of the vote on election day).

While every race is different and McCormick or another candidate might be a factor in 2014, it is prudent to remember that independent and third-party candidates have not ended up playing a large roll in recent Massachusetts elections.

For additional discussion on what recent history says about Charlie Baker's chances in 2014, see my piece in the latest issue of Commonwealth Magazine:

The GOP's corner office strategy

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Endorsements of Walsh by Arroyo, Barros and Richie had a profound effect on election outcome

Walsh won almost all of the precincts secured by his endorsers in the preliminary, increasing his margin and securing thousands of votes

State Representative Marty Walsh defeated City Councilor John Connolly by a margin of 4,908 votes in Tuesday's general election and an analysis of the precinct-by-precinct results show clearly that Walsh's endorsements by preliminary candidates Felix Arroyo, John Barros, and Charlotte Golar Richie had a profound effect on the outcome of the race.

Of the 93 precincts won by Arroyo, Barros, and Richie in the preliminary, Walsh won 81 of those precincts in the general election by a total of 7,859 votes.  It is unlikely that Walsh would have done as well in those precincts without the endorsements. A comparison of the Walsh and Connolly voter share in the preliminary had Connolly ahead of Walsh in 55 of the 93 precincts, but in the general election, Connolly was ahead in only 12 of the 93 precincts.

Walsh's margin over Connolly increased between the preliminary and general election in all but two precincts. His average increase in margin was 21.6 points across all 93 precincts. Multiplying the increase in voter share between Walsh and Connolly in the preliminary times the number of general election voters on a precinct-by-precinct basis, shows that Walsh increased share amounted to 8,579 votes. We do not have the data to attribute all of those voters to the endorsements, but it is not inconceivable that a large fraction of Walsh's 4,908 Boston-wide margin were influenced by the Arroyo, Barros, and Richie endorsements.

The table shows each precinct won by an endorser, the margin between Walsh and Connolly in the preliminary, the general election winner, the margin between Walsh and Connolly in the general, Walsh's increase in margin between the preliminary and general, the a count of the general election votes that increase in margin represents.

A comparison of Walsh/Connolly margins in endorser districts

Monday, November 4, 2013

Suffolk poll suggests Boston mayoral endorsements are having an effect


The most recent poll from Suffolk University for the November 5 Boston mayoral election suggest that endorsements of State Representative Marty Walsh by preliminary candidates Felix Arroyo, John Barros, and Charlotte Golar Richie are helping Walsh. The poll shows Walsh leading with voters that voted for each of those endorsing candidates, and a look at the ward-by-ward geography shows Walsh consolidating the geographic areas won by his endorsers.

Preliminary supporter chart

The survey shows a strong lead for Walsh among voters that voted for Arroyo and Barros in the preliminary election, and a smaller lead among Golar Richie voters. A ward-by-ward map of the Suffolk results shows Walsh starting to consolidate the areas won by his endorsers.

SUFFOLK WARD-BY-WARD RESULTS (click for interactive map)

Suffolk poll by Ward

Friday, November 1, 2013

Suffolk poll provides more evidence that Walsh has overtaken Connolly for lead in Boston mayoral race

Walsh has seen a steady rise in the polls and now leads the time-weighted polling average

A new poll from Suffolk University conducted less than a week before the November 5 election shows State Representative Marty Walsh with a 3 point lead over City Councilor John Connolly and provides more evidence that Walsh is now leading the race. A time-weighted polling average has also tipped in Walsh's favor, giving him a 2 point lead of 44% to 42%.

Boston mayoral polling average chart

A graph of the polling numbers fitted with linear regression lines shows a clear rise for Walsh from the low 30s in early October, to the mid 40s this week. The fit for the Connolly line shows a slight rise, but with much less confidence in the fit. The graph, trend line, and analysis of the cross-tabs calls the the UNH poll number for Connolly into question—whether it resulted from a methodological difference or just an unlucky sample, the number does not fit well with the other polling.

Boston mayoral polling graph

Polls used in average: