Our new home

Now that we have moved to WGBH, all future posts can be read at  blogs.wgbh.org/masspoliticsprofs

Posted in Mass Politics | Leave a comment

MassPoliticsProfs Is Moving to WGBH

Dear Readers:

After three plus years of independent blogging about state and national politics, MassPoliticsProfs.com is moving to WGBHnews.org. We are excited about this move because we believe it presents a wonderful opportunity to expand our audience and to improve the content of the blog. In our earliest discussions of this move with WGBH News senior editor Peter Kadzis, he described the culture of WGBH as a “convener” of informed ideas and commentary. The MassPoliticsProfs think we’ll fit right in.

When we began the blog we promised to provide political commentary about Massachusetts politics primarily but also national politics, informed by political science research that provides insights not routinely found in the “conventional wisdom.” We hope we’ve succeeded at that. Our second goal was to have some fun, and we’ve certainly succeeded at that. In these three years we’ve come to know some loyal followers and some persistent critics, who have offered kind words and also taken issue with us. Please keep commenting as we move to WGBH; we’ll respond, same as always.

Thanks to Peter Kadzis, Abbie Ruzicka, Brendan Lynch, Mac Slocum, and the WGBH team for welcoming us.

Most of all, thanks to the readers who have read us and sustained us. We’ll keep working to improve the blog and make it informative, provocative and fun for all of us.

Posted in Mass Politics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Welfare and Charlie Baker’s Problem with Women of Color

Charlie Baker had a bad week.  And I mean a really bad.  Baker dropped his ad firm just as  recent polling showed a 10 point lead for Democratic opponent Martha Coakley.  Then he called a female reporter “sweetheart” as she asked him legitimate questions about Roger Goodell given the NFL’s abhorrent handling of violence against women. Even Baker’s “Women for Charlie” group, which many women find so dismissive, had to be second guessing themselves. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Those Rational Non-Voters

Some people see low primary turnout and say why; I see low turnout and say, why not?

I know, I know – I’m a political scientist and I should be urging all to the polls. I’m not qualified to enter into dialogue with my public choice theory colleagues but let me say that perhaps voters stayed home on primary day because they are rational. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Charlie Baker’s effort to deflect tough questions by cozying up to the press is S.O.P., but the value of his “sweetheart” slip up to his critics and opponents is partly due to his campaign’s strategy of making the race about Charlie Baker and Martha Coakley, rather than about Democratic and Republican ideas about governance.

Because his chances of election hinge on avoiding association with his own political party, Baker has been forced to adopt a candidate-centered strategy, which not only makes media scrutiny of his character “fair game,” it also makes it very hard to complain about. Baker’s route to the corner office has always been a steep climb. Every time he loses his footing like this his chances diminish.

Posted in Municipal Politics, Political Analysis in the Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How Polls Influence the Campaign

My post last week Polling as a Commodity in a Saturated Market generated some interesting comments in the 140 character world of Twitter. I’d like to indulge in a few extra characters for some of the issues that arose. Important questions arose about whether anyone outside the community of political junkies even notices polls, whether polling influences or simply measures attitudes, and polling and citizen engagement. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Today’s installment of campaign farce-ocracy: nonpartisan voter ed

If you’re wondering whether  a 501 (c) 4 can jump the shark, take a look at the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance’s recent voter education effort. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook Forecasting and the Curious Case of Scott Brown

Today we welcome back UMassAmherst political science doctoral candidates Matthew MacWilliams, Edward Erikson and Nicole Luna Berns and their Facebook Forecast Model for an updated prediction on the Brown-Shaheen race and an important challenge Brown poses for their model.

This week’s forecast shows Senator Jeanne Shaheen still ahead of Scott Brown in New Hampshire, but Shaheen has dropped from 55% to 52%. The Scott Brown candidacy in New Hampshire presents an interesting outlier challenge to our Facebook Forecasting Model. In fact, there is no other candidate in the history of Senate campaigns quite like Brown. Why? Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics | Leave a comment

Coakley, Brown, & Baker and the difference between Senate and Guv elections

Success for Martha Coakley, Scott Brown, and Charlie Baker this November may depend on a proper appreciation of the difference between US Senate and gubernatorial elections. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics, New Hampshire Politics, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Scott Brown-Barack Obama Correlation

Is there anyone whose political fortunes are more tied to President Barack Obama than Scott Brown? According to Joshua Miller in the Boston Globe today, Scott Brown riding an anti-Obama wave in N.H.  Obama played a large role in electing Brown in Massachusetts in 2010, Obama atop the ballot helped usher out the Scott Brown Era in Massachusetts in 2012 (and Brown himself out of Massachusetts), and Obama’s unpopularity may help usher Brown into yet another Senate seat in 2014.

Before we get back to New Hampshire though, le me return again to what really mattered in 2010. No, it wasn’t Martha Coakley’s supposed gaffes.

My University of Massachusetts at Boston colleagues Tom Ferguson and Jie Chen produced a working paper for the Roosevelt Institute, 1,2,3, Many Tea Parties that offered a much more likely explanation for the Democrats’ demise in 2010 than Coakley taking the days around Christmas off: the failure of Obama and the Democrats to address the economic devastation being felt by American working and middle-class families. Continue reading

Posted in Mass Politics, New Hampshire Politics, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment