Tag Archives: Charlie Baker

From the Archives: The Coakley Media Narrative

Prof. Cunningham is on vacation but has left behind some favorite posts from the archives. Read on to consider that Martha Coakley’s 2010 mistakes did not cost her that race but could cost her this one.

The Stumbling and Bumbling Martha Coakley

coakleyMartha Coakley, this time you’ve gone too far. When the Boston Globe ran an article in which Democrats fretted that you are a political bumbler and fumbler, my colleague Professor Ubertaccio rose to your defense.  I made fun of the Democratic knee-knockers too. Then in The Myth of Martha Coakley’s Mistakes I argued that the AG’s fumbles and bumbles didn’t really impact the 2010 special election loss to Scott Brown.

So how does the AG thank us? With this, from Frank Phillips of the Globe: Martha Coakley’s Campaign Funds in Disarray.

I’ll continue to maintain that Coakley’s fumbles and bumbles didn’t cost her the election in 2010. But they might cost her the election of 2014.

That is because the media frame established on Coakley from 2010 is one of an inept politician who commits serial unforced errors. A frame is a window through which we perceive reality.

Coakley seemed to recognize the stark force of the Globe story depicting Democratic insiders as anxious that she could fall apart in a gubernatorial contest.   Even though those experts were wrong that her miscues cost the party the special senate election, the story is strong enough that it had to be addressed. So she set about to combat the notion that she isn’t a hard working campaigner by getting all around the state. She did her mea culpas. She even campaigned outside of Fenway Park, adding to the list of miracles occurring at the lyrical bandbox this year. Her announcement video didn’t offer any reason to vote for her but still, some polls showed her beating the Democratic field and Republican Charlie Baker.

But then along comes the Phillips story in the Sunday Globe revealing that Coakley has so mismanaged her leftover federal campaign account from the senate race that she may have committed “a violation of campaign finance law.” It’s hard to tell if the account is flush or in deficit because the records are so inaccurate. Oh, and one of the individuals paid to oversee the accuracy of the account is Coakley’s sister.

Plus as AG, Coakley has pursued state political figures including former Lt. Governor Tim Murray for campaign finance violations. Naughty naughty Tim.

So in other words, she has completely blown the effort to alter the media frame.

Let’s also remember this bit of inside information from a September 5 Globe story by Phillips and Jim Sullivan, Baker Enters Governor’s Race, Coakley Weighs Bid:

Coakley insiders say she has yet to make a final decision about whether to run, but confirm that much of her decision depends on whether she can assemble a highly talented group of organizers, media consultants, and pollsters.

Organizers, consultants, and pollsters; that ought to do it.

In one piece of good news for the Coakley campaign, Massachusetts has no statewide version of Saturday Night Live. Tina Fey would have a field day.

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Globe Poll: So Much Data, So Little Context

Conflict and controversy are marketable media commodities and stability is just plain boooooorrrring. Thus we have Sunday’s Boston Globe story based on the newspaper’s poll showing that if Martha Coakley loses to Charlie Baker in November it might be attributed to disloyal Democratic followers of Steve Grossman.

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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: Go for the Jugular, Charlie

Yesterday my colleague Professor Duquette counseled Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker to forego attacks on the Democrats over corruption. Professor Duquette’s reasoning was that an attack on the leadership in the wake of the Probation Department verdict would incite legislative Democrats to deploy their mighty organizations against Baker; thus campaigning on Democratic corruption would backfire on Baker.

Professor Duquette is wrong. Here’s why.

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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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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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“time for some self reflection”

Yesterday, my colleague, Professor O’Brien, wrote a moving piece on the practical impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in McCullen v. Coakley, the buffer zone case.

The response is illuminating.

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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.

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Stop or stomp? That’s not the story.

Did Congressman Tierney really call on his supporters to stomp a tracker? Pretty clear he didn’t and it’s also pretty clear he handled himself with calm in the face of being pursued by an opposition operative.

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Should Coakley Cancel Her Globe Subscription?

This could be the week that Martha Coakley cancels her subscription to the Boston Globe.

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