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.
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.