Monthly Archives: February 2012

Contrary to today’s weather report, Snowe is gone from New England

Last summer I wondered if their might be a revival of the Gypsy Moths, a distinctly New England brand of Republicanism epitomized by the likes of Massachusetts pols such as John Volpe, Frank Sargent, Silvio Conte, Ed Brooke and Bill Weld.  The retirement of Senator Olympia Snowe makes it increasingly unlikely.

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Brown Courts Reagan Democrats?

I’d like to return to the Boston Globe’s Saturday story, Brown vies for ‘Reagan Democrats’ which makes the case that Senator Scott Brown is using the contraceptives issue as a way of peeling conservative working class Catholics away from Democrat Elizabeth Warren.  Actually we could call them George Wallace-Ed King-Ronald Reagan-John Silber voters. Since the most recent of those figures last appeared on a ballot in 1990 we might wonder at the viability of the strategy.

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Color Cranberry Country Competitive

The natural beauty of Cape Cod is matched only by the expert pours of our local bartenders and our competitive politics.  And 2010 promises a good deal of competition.

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Is Brown Polling on Religion?

I’ll have more to say on this next week but I couldn’t help noticing today’s Globe story, Brown tries to win over ‘Reagan’ Democrats – meaning, working-class Catholics. If Brown is so confident about this he may be polling a religious variable. I’ve suggested several times that public pollsters should pass on some of the more esoteric questions and add a few telling demographic questions, specifically: religion (and how often respondents attend services); income; and education. That would correct a major weakness in public polls and enrich the public commentary.

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The Triumph of Politics

I have written some and thought a lot about the parallels between the Patrick and Obama campaigns and administrations. Everyone knows these two operations have some of the same designers and strategists, but I think they also have something else in common. Each has been blessed with political opponents who hate politics and who, not surprisingly, are not good at it.

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Catholics and the Religious Left

Here’s a good topic to interject into the Brown campaign’s effort to appeal to Catholic voters – the existence of an electorally significant religious left with roots in Catholic doctrine. Here’s a quote from a recent academic study:

When asked whether “avoiding sin” or “helping others” was more important to being a good Christian, evangelical Protestants surveyed were more likely than mainline Protestants or Catholics to answer “avoiding sin,” Wald said. For Roman Catholics, about two-thirds selected “helping others” over “avoiding sin,” he said.

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Prof. Cunningham Media Interviews on Contraceptive Controversy

As the Warren-Brown radio ads went up on contraceptives and religious freedom Prof. Cunningham voiced skepticism of Brown’s tactics on WBUR’s Morning Edition and in the  Attleboro Sun Chronicle.

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More Brown-Warren: The Suffolk/7News Poll

Yesterday I discussed a few points from the February MassInc Polling Group/WBUR survey. Suffolk University/7News also released a poll last week and I’ll have a few comments on that one today. The difference between the polls that caught most folks’ attention is that MassInc/WBUR had the race in a virtual tie; Suffolk has Brown leading, 49%-40%. I don’t think it matters much so I’ll move on to other aspects of the Suffolk poll.

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Brown-Warren Update: The MassInc/WBUR Poll

Last week MassInc Polling Group/WBUR released a poll on the Warren-Brown race with the candidates in a statistical tie, Warren 46% – Brown 43%. Let’s look a bit deeper and see what else of interest might lie in the survey. There are strengths and danger signs for both candidates.

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Civil Discourse: Who Needs It?

On Friday my school, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, hosted Civility and American Democracy: A National Forum featuring a very distinguished group of scholars and journalists who largely argued, “civility: meh.”

While I was at the forum (I could only get to the morning sessions; visit centerforcivildiscourse.com) my MPP colleague Professor Duquette was blogging on incivility in political speech, concerning a Facebook posting by one of his conservative friends that quoted Archbishop Fulton Sheen and began: “The world is rapidly being divided into two camps, the comradeship of anti-Christ and the brotherhood of Christ.” So did the conference have anything to teach Professor Duquette’s Facebook friends?

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