Tag Archives: Martha Coakley

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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MassForward’s “Mother’s Ad” Disappears and Social Science Suggests Why: Race

All the talk this week in the Massachusetts Governor’s race is on the ad Martha Coakley is running that paints her as a political outsider who has never been embraced by the old boy’s club. She’s right …and I’ll get to that in a forthcoming post. But the ad story going under the radar is the one we’re no longer seeing: The Mother’s Ad.

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Media Coverage of Women Candidates

Do the media treat women candidates for governor or senator differently, focusing more on personal traits than on substantive issues or on horse race? Is that sort of coverage helpful or harmful to women candidates? If there are such effects do they hold for primaries as well as general elections?

I can’t answer those questions in the context of a Democratic Party primary for governor featuring a woman candidate but an article in Political Research Quarterly has me thinking: Johanna Dunaway, Regina G. Lawrence, Melody Rose and Christopher R. Weber, “Traits versus Issues: How Female Candidates Shape coverage of Senate and Gubernatorial Elections.” (2013).

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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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Most Gendered Headline of Campaign Season: “Is Coakley Using Women’s Issues as a Campaign Crutch?”

 Yes, you read that headline right. And if you did not blink, or better yet recoil in disgust, then you are a part of the problem. Last week, GoLocalWorcester published Nicholas Handy’s more measured piece on the role of women’s issues could play in differentiating the three Democrats hoping to win the gubanatorial primary. But headlines matter and this one is a doosey: “Is Coakley Using Women’s Issues as a Campaign Crutch?” Hard to imagine Massachusetts has one of the worst records in electing women, eh?

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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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Martha Coakley Wins the Day

The Democratic insider narrative on Martha Coakley has been great AG, awful campaigner, way ahead in the primary due to name recognition, but “she could unravel at any moment in a tough general election race.’’

Perhaps we’ll see about the general election but Democrats, give Coakley some credit: she can be a pretty sharp campaigner as she proved yesterday in response to misogynistic statements by a sports talk radio host.

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Can Don Berwick Capture the Warren Wing?

The Atlantic’s Molly Ball wrote an interesting piece last week titled The Left’s Quiet Advance in Democratic Primaries. She was careful not to claim too much for the evidence she collected but still, progressives are cheering in several congressional districts across the country. The Warren Wave began right here in Massachusetts. Will Don Berwick seize the mantle?

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Convention Speeches: Words Spoken and Missing

As I sat in the DCU Center Saturday listening to Democratic candidates’ speeches it occurred to me that some words and phrases were being repeated over and over again by candidates- “progressive” for instance. More slowly it dawned that some other words were barely being mentioned. Words used and avoided will tell us a bit about the candidates, the forum, and especially the audience.

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