Thursday, October 31, 2013

Boston mayoral polling average shows a tie between Connolly and Walsh

Walsh surpasses Connolly in latest UMass poll while UNH poll bucks trends

[Note: See this polling average update that includes the last Suffolk University poll.]

City Councilor John Connolly was the early leader in the polling of voters in the head-to-head race for Boston Mayor against State Representative Marty Walsh, but Marty Walsh has surpassed Connolly in the latest UMass poll and a time-weighted average shows a tie with each candidate carrying 42% of the vote.

Boston mayoral polling average chart

A graph of the polling numbers with fitted linear regression trend lines shows what seems to be an outlier in Connolly's number of 47% in the UNH poll. A graphical representation of the poll numbers with a regression trend line emphasizes the outlying nature of the point.

Boston mayoral polling graph

Statistical fit measurements confirm that the trend line for Connoly is not very reliable (R-squared of 0.2) compared to the goodness of fit measurements for the Walsh (R-squared of 0.8) and Undecided (R-squared of 0.9) trend lines. While more data would be needed to make a definitive statement, one explanation would be consistent numbers around 40% for Connolly and rising numbers from mid-30s to mid-40s for Walsh.

A look at the gender breakdown in the polls shows Connolly and Walsh approximately tied with men in all but the UNH poll, which has Connolly with a 14 point advantage among males, a number that is way out of line with the other polls. There is a fairly steady trend upwards with women supporters of Walsh.

Boston mayoral polls gender chart

There is not enough consistency in the polling to declare a strong favorite in the race to replace Mayor Menino. It is clear that Walsh has made headway against the early lead held by Connolly, but it is not clear whether the race is tied, or Walsh has moved into the lead.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Clark's 5th Middlesex senate district overlaps seven house districts but only three representatives

On Tuesday, October 15 Katherine Clark handily won the Democratic primary to replace Ed Markey as U.S. Representative for the Fifth Congressional District. While Clark still needs to win the general election on December 10 against Republican Frank Addivinola, there is very little doubt in the outcome as President Obama won the district by 33 points and Elizabeth Warren won it over Scott Brown by 18 points.

The cascading effect of special elections will continue, as Clark's 5th Middlesex state senate district becomes vacant. Local State Representatives often run for open State Senate seats, leading us to look at the state representative districts that overlap the 5th Middlesex senate district.

There are seven House districts overlapping the 5th Middlesex Senate District. Two of the seats are represented by Republicans: Donald Wong (Saugus) and Minority Leader Brad Jones (North Reading). Four of the seats are represented by Democrats: James Dwyer (Woburn), Jason Lewis (Winchester), Paul Brodeur (Melrose), Christopher Fallon (Malden), and Paul Donato (Medford).

Only Representatives Lewis, Brodeur, and Fallon reside within the 5th Middlesex District, qualifying them to run for the upcoming vacancy.

5th Middlesex overlapping Representatives

(click for interactive map)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Suffolk mayoral poll gives first look at Walsh and Connolly's head-to-head regional strengths


On October 7 the Suffolk University Political Research Center released the first head-to-head Boston mayoral poll between City Councilor John Connolly and State Representative Marty Walsh. The poll showed Connolly with a 7 point advantage at 41%, Walsh at 34%, and 23% of the voters undecided. An analysis of the ward-by-ward cross-tabs allows us to get a feel for the possible regional strengths of each candidate. Note that the sample sizes for each ward are quite small, so any conclusions should be taken with a grain of salt.

Suffolk poll ward-by-ward results (click for interactive map)

Walsh showed strength around his home district and throughout Dorchester, stringing together Wards 7, 15, and 16, by sizable margins. Walsh also polled above Connolly in Ward 10—won by City Councilor Mike Ross in the preliminary election, Ward 11—where Felix Arroyo and Charlotte Golar Richie won the precincts, and Ward 18 which was split between Rob Consalvo and Richie in September.

The poll showed Connolly ahead in more wards and he made inroads in the South End's Ward 6, which was won by Walsh in the preliminary. He also had strong showings in his home neighborhood of West Roxbury and was again tops in the Back Bay. Connolly's biggest advantage was in Ward 8 where Walsh did not receive any support, albeit with a sample size of 11 probable voters.

A comparison of this poll map with the map of precinct-by-precinct preliminary election winners, shows the importance of an endorsement of Walsh or Connolly by one of the other major vote-getters like Richie, Arroyo, Ross, or Consalvo. While the 7 point lead in the Suffolk survey by Connolly is significant, there is still time and room for Walsh to bridge the gap.

Suffolk poll ward-by-ward results