Early Guv Race Polls Survey the Wrong Population

As far as I’m concerned the public polls to date on the Massachusetts governor’s race are little more than practice sessions for the pollsters, who use these preliminary surveys to fine tune their operations. Nothing in these polls is (or should be) impacting the game plans of any of the viable candidates in the race. As predictors of performance, I’d say these early polls are probably about as useful as the seeding’s in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Continue reading

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Fisher v. Massachusetts GOP: What to Expect Today?

What might we expect when hearings resume today before Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins in the law suit brought by Mark Fisher against the Massachusetts Republican Party? I’ll be waiting by the twitter feed but Stephanie Ebbert of the Boston Globe reported on last week’s hearing and gave some sense of what to look for today. Continue reading

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Charlie Baker’s Word Cloud

Is a word cloud worth a thousand words? Maybe, when the word is “Republican.”

Party polarization has been a big issue lately and it probably isn’t going to help Republicans in Massachusetts in 2012. That (R) following his name helped cost Scott Brown the 2012 senate race against Elizabeth Warren and drove him from the state in quest of a senate seat he could win. In Tisei, Baker, and the Tea Party “Smear” I wrote of the problem the Republican Party brand presents in Massachusetts. In Charlie, I Have Good News and Bad News and in What Deval Patrick’s 2010 Win Might Tell Us About 2014 I wrote about how increasing polarization in governor’s races may harm Charlie Baker’s prospects. So I was pretty interested to see this word cloud accompanying a new UMass Poll from our friends Professors Brian F. Schaffner, Ray LaRaja, and Tatishe Ntete from UMass Amherst. Feast your eyes:

Baker Republican word cloud

By the way polls released thus far show that hardly anyone has even heard of Democratic candidates Juliette Kayyem or Don Berwick, but the UMass Poll reports that Berwick and Kayyem – remember, unknowns – would be in a dead heat against Baker.

It may also be a consequence of voters not paying attention yet. Baker himself is not as well known to the electorate as we might surmise, so “Republican” is the first thing that comes to mind. There is plenty of time for the campaign to define him on their own terms. It’s a headwind.

It is getting hard to get voters to vote the man, not the party.

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Tour de Website: Steve Grossman

Let’s continue our Tour de Website series looking for best practices on candidate web sites. Today the tour stops at the home of Steve Grossman for Governor.  There are some well-done standard features, some missed opportunities, and a real highlight. Continue reading

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Another tactical mistake by Brown or ill-advised Sununu ad lib?

Has Scott Brown’s hired the same folks for his latest senate bid who counseled him to mock Elizabeth Warren at every opportunity by calling her “professor?” It sure looks that way. Continue reading

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What Deval Patrick’s 2010 Win May Tell Us About 2014

I was just wondering – exactly how did Governor Deval Patrick defeat Charlie Baker and win re-election in 2010? I know plenty of people have their theories but the governor had some pretty ugly numbers. Or maybe I’ve just been looking in the wrong places. Continue reading

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Immigrants and the Human Mind

Immigration is an important issue but three of the last five posts here at MassPoliticsProfs have touched on the topic. Is it that important? Are there more important issues we could be discussing but aren’t noticing for some reason? Last week I was obsessed by the Massachusetts Republican Party Convention; this week, nothing.

This phenomenon and some of the comments we’ve had here at MPP have me thinking about politics and the human mind; a fascinating topic that I am curious about but I warn you, I am “undocumented” in the field; so these are musings. Continue reading

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Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

A few weeks back I criticized a Joe Battenfeld column in which he argued that the issue of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants would be “a gift” to Charlie Baker. In that post I implied that it may actually be more useful to the Democratic candidate(s) for governor. Thanks to some insightful analysis by Professor Cunningham, I’m having second thoughts about that. Continue reading

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Politics in the Blogosphere, 4/9/2014 Edition

How about a quick visit to the blogosphere on the topic of money in politics? UMass Boston’s Black Student Center hosted a forum on the topic yesterday featuring Senator Jamie Eldridge, who was somewhat more optimistic than me on the topic. So what are the best academics saying about the Supreme Court’s recent decision on campaign finance, and does plutocracy bring any policy consequences – like government subsidies for too big to fail banks, for instance? Continue reading

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The Comeback Cardinal

Once upon a time the Catholic Church played a major role in Massachusetts politics, so big that as historian Thomas O’Connor remarked “When Cardinal O’Connell spoke, the State House shook.”  It’s been awhile; and the Church not only lost its grip on the legislature but upon the laity, Cardinal Sean O’Malley once remarking that the willingness of Catholics to vote for pro-choice Democrats “borders on scandal.”

There are signs of life though: a more sophisticated political approach, better relations with politicians, and Cardinal O’Malley’s leadership on social justice issues like poverty and immigration. Some but not all of this relates to the popularity of Pope Francis. As the Boston Globe’s John L. Allen, Jr. wrote Sunday, Cardinal O’Malley projects as the “American Francis.” Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading

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