To Compete or Non-Compete, That Is the Question

As lame duck initiatives go, the effort by Governor Deval Patrick to outlaw non-compete agreements as reported in the Boston Globe is one of the more contentious and interesting. Non-compete agreements are employment clauses imposed on employees by corporations that restrict the employees from working for a competitor for a period, like a year or two. It’s a political science mini-lesson in itself: political culture clashes, demographic change, political economy, interests, symbolism, and more. What fun! Continue reading

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The View from the NEPSA Annual Meeting

This weekend, I will deliver my annual report on the state of Massachusetts politics to the New England Politics Roundtable at the New England Political Science Association’s annual meeting. For a comprehensive reconsideration of the state of Massachusetts politics last year at this time, you can (re)read my New England Journal of Political Science piece from last spring here. Continue reading

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What Worries a Political Scientist

Edge.org recently published an edited volume, What Should We Be Worried About: Real Scenarios that Keep Scientists Up at Night. Using that volume as inspiration let me offer three things that especially worry this political scientist: money in politics, environmental degradation, and privacy. Continue reading

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Senators Kirk and Cowan at Stonehill May 5

Senator Cowan & Senator Kirk will be speaking at the Martin Institute on May 5 at 7:00 at a forum moderated by NECN’s Alison King. And Senator Cowan is happy to tweet about it.

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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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