Author Archives: Jerold Duquette

About Jerold Duquette

Jerold Duquette is an associate professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author of Regulating the National Pastime: Baseball and Antitrust and has published articles and book chapters on campaign finance reform, political parties, Massachusetts politics and political culture, public opinion, and political socialization. Professor Duquette lives in Longmeadow, MA with his wife and four children.

Probation Mess: Perception v. Strategic Reality in Guv’s Race

Political scientists have long been debated the relative significance of various factors in determining electoral outcomes. One debate focuses on the relative significance of turning out base partisan voters versus attracting so-called “swing” voters, or voters not wedded to casting a straight party ballot. Another angle on this debate focuses on the relative importance of voter mobilization versus voter persuasion. When media reporters and analysts cover events like the probation trial and verdicts in terms of the impact such things will have on the elections they put greater emphasis on the significance of swing voters and voter persuasion. They pretty much have to do this in order to make their work interesting and relevant to their audiences, but the campaigns of the major party statewide candidates put much greater emphasis on turning out (i.e. mobilizing) voters. To the folks running the Coakley, Grossman, and Baker campaigns public opinion about headline grabbing events, as measured in campaign season media polls, is much less important than most people (and most media analysts) assume.

Posted in Mass Politics, Political Analysis in the Media, Political Science | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Boston Herald: The “Stupid Party” Newspaper

No one will mistake the Boston Herald for a credible news organization anytime soon, but since somebody must be buying it for it to still be in business, it’s probably important to highlight the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of its columnists every now and then.

Posted in Political Analysis in the Media | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Grossman’s free media miscalculation

Steve Grossman had a plan. The plan was to spend the pre-convention period building the best campaign infrastructure and volunteer army. The post-convention summer period was supposed to be when the political media’s horse race coverage of the treasurer’s post-convention bump and the backs and forths between the Coakley and Grossman camps would provide the one-on-one media narrative necessary to move the poll numbers and soften the ground for Grossman’s late summer “air campaign.” By primary Election Day, with Grossman’s viability having been established by free and paid media exposure, the superiority of the treasurer’s ground operation would get him over the finish line ahead of the AG. Unfortunately for Grossman, the media has not fulfilled its part of the plan.

Posted in Mass Politics, Political Analysis in the Media | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mass Politics: Ambition Welcome

An appreciation of political culture is very important to effective campaign strategy at any level. The way in which candidates deal with the question of political ambition (theirs and/or their opponents) reveals a lot about how well a campaign understands the cultural assumptions of voters.

Posted in Mass Politics, Political Analysis in the Media, U.S. Politics, Western Mass Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jacoby is shaming the wrong partisans

In this morning’s Boston Globe Jeff Jacoby uses the unanimous Supreme Court decision in the buffer zone case to shame liberal politicians in Massachusetts. I wonder if it occurred to the hyper-partisan Jacoby that the same decision may well reflect an important difference between the High Court’s liberal and conservative justices.

Posted in Political Analysis in the Media, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The Casino Question Could Help Baker

Charlie Baker’s biggest liability is his party label. Association with Republicans in Washington is to be avoided like the plague. The SJC’s decision to put the casino repeal question on the November ballot complicates the work of all the statewide candidates, but may help the Republican nominee for governor by steering the political narrative away from national politics.

Posted in Mass Politics, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Perils of Poll-Driven Journalism

Analyzing public opinion polls is tricky. One of the tricks to getting it right (in my opinion) is to never elevate the numbers above the known elements of the larger context. Media analysis of the early polls in the Massachusetts governor’s race has been a bit shaky in this respect and we here at MassPoliticsProfs will continue to correct misinterpretations of the now weekly polls in that race, but today I would like to use the analysis of new national polling data by the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza to highlight what I see as an increasingly common problem; the misinterpretation of context in the interpretation of polling results.

Posted in Political Analysis in the Media, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Debate on 15% rule reflects conflicting perspectives, interests

As we approach the appearance of the Masspoliticsprofs in Worcester this weekend (apparently there will also be a few Democrats at the DCU Center conducting an endorsement convention for statewide candidates), I feel compelled to add my voice to that of my MPP colleagues regarding the infamous 15% rule. I am particularly interested in the differences between how political scientists and journalists view this sort of thing.

Posted in Mass Politics, Political Analysis in the Media, Political Science, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Poli Sci Bookshelf: Are Competitive Elections Bad for America?

In a recent Boston Magazine article, David Bernstein describes the lack of competitiveness in Massachusetts state legislative elections, pointing out that “as usual” in 2014 most Beacon Hill incumbents will run unopposed for re-election. For those of us who link competitive elections to democratic vitality this situation is lamentable, but maybe we should consider the possibility that uncompetitive elections are actually better for democracy than competitive ones?

Posted in Academic Life, Mass Politics | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Mark Fisher is already producing for Charlie Baker

After the GOP State Convention I agreed with Bill Weld that the Party should put Mark Fisher on the primary ballot because he would make Charlie Baker look good. At a candidate forum on Monday, Mark Fisher did his part to make Charlie Baker look like a reasonable and intelligent choice for the nomination and the corner office.

Posted in Mass Politics, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , | 7 Comments