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.

After Action Report: Media Polling Performance

For the past four months I have been arguing that the contest for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination between the sitting State Attorney General and State Treasurer was much closer than the pollsters would have us believe. Now that the results on Election Day seem to support my conclusion, the pollsters who saw a 40-plus point Coakley lead in the Spring and a 20 or more point lead three days before the polls opened, need to figure out where they went wrong.

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The Polls fooled Reporters who wrote “Nothing to see here.”

Attorney General Martha Coakley beat Treasurer Steve Grossman by 6 points in yesterday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Today, the media is filled with headlines about the surprisingly close result. We here at Masspoliticsprofs, however, were not surprised. In fact, we’ve been explaining how and why the political media’s uncritical acceptance of polls showing a consistently huge Coakley lead was a disservice to voters.

Posted in Academic Life, Mass Politics, Political Analysis in the Media | Tagged | 4 Comments

“Anatomy of a disagreement” or “My beef with Bernstein”

It used to be said that you shouldn’t argue with folks who buy ink by the barrel. An Information Age corollary to that sage admonition might be, you shouldn’t argue with top Twitter Influencers.

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Pols against politics don’t win primaries

There is a pretty standard theme in most “outsider” political campaigns that was evident last night in the Democratic gubernatorial debate. Don Berwick says he’s not a politician and that government should be run like a business. The only other major party candidate for governor hitting this theme as hard as Berwick is Mark Fisher, the Tea Party Republican challenging Charlie Baker.

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Has the Globe’s weekly poll impacted the Guv’s race?

The Globe’s Frank Phillips recently called the ongoing race for the corner office in Massachusetts “one of the least-energized statewide races in years.” His Globe colleague Jim O’Sullivan speculates that this might have something to do with “a candidate lineup that has not, to put it politely, exactly set the electorate on fire.” While I agree that there have been few fireworks to date, I wonder if the Globe’s own coverage of the race hasn’t played a role.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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