^ well ahead : John Connolly
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The University of New Hampshire finally released its poll of the Boston mayor race, and its message has locust-plagued the City’s spin doctors. Just about every candidate purports to believe that the poll is good for him — or her. If only !
It’s hard to believe that none of the twelve candidates is known by more than 68 % of the voters polled. Does that mean that the poll sample has reached well beyond the 100,000 “likely” voters who even the least bullish pundit thinks will turn out ? The poll also doesn’t say how many of its respondents came from which of the city’s 22 wards. We are left to guess what electorate was polled.
Nonetheless, the poll does not drop out of the sky. It accurately reflects, in fact, the money raising that we’ve been reporting — amounts and trends up or down in each candidate’s deposits. It also accords fairly well with what we glean from our observation of the various campaigns. We believe what the poll says. So here are the numbers for the top four :
John Connolly gets 15 % of the vote and is known by 68 % of the voters
Dan Conley gets 10 % and is known by 65 % of the voters
Marty Walsh gets 10 % and is known by 58 % of the voters
Charlotte Golar-Richie gets 10 % and is known by only 50 % of the voters.
Striking facts : (1) Though clearly less well known than Walsh or Conley, Golar-Richie polls equally with them (2) Connolly is measurably ahead of all three, well beyond the poll’s margin of error (3) Walsh has actually lost since the last UNH poll, in which he had 11 %. He has lost 10% of his vote, after a week of being slammed as a union guy — a loss well in line with the political rule that attacks can cost a candidate up to, but not likely more than, said ten percent.
^ Marty Walsh : must prove on Primary day that he’s more than a union guy
Can Walsh recover and secure the second Final spot ? Of course he can. He has lots of money, is running excellent TV ads, and has a superb election day organization working hard and enthusiastically. He doesn’t need many more votes to put him close to Connolly.
Nonetheless, the poll shows that a full 25 % of its voters remain undecided. That’s a lot of undecideds only nine days before voting day. This is where Golar-Richie’s potential looks big. If she can get 10% of the vote with only 50% of voters knowing her, how hard will it be for her to get another 5 % from the 25 % who are undecided ? All she has to do is win the same percentage from them as she has won from the decided.
^ Charlotte Golar-Richie : big potential to move up
Will 15% be enough to secure second spot ? It will not win the top spot. Surely John Connolly will win additional votes from that 25 % undecided. My guess is that he finishes with 21 %. As for the second spot, I will be surprised if whoever gets it wins more than 15 %. It is unlikely that a catch-up candidate will win more undecideds than a candidate who is strong AND perceived to be strong.
I will give Connolly an additional 6 %, Golar-Richie 5 %, Walsh an additional 5 % on the basis of a strong election day pull, and Conley only 4 %, because he polls only equal with Walsh although better known.
The poll shows that the other eight candidates are very much out of the running. Felix Arroyo, John Barros, and Rob Consalvo all win 6 %, Mike Ross 5 %, Bill Walczak 4 %, Charles Yancey 3 %, Charles Clemons 2 %. Arroyo is not known by 34 %, Consalvo by 50 %, Ross by 47 % ; the others poll even less well known. How likely is it that candidates so not-known will garner major vote numbers from the 25 % who remain undecided ? My experience is that the undecideds tend to vote for the most known candidates, not the less well known. Many are undecided because they don’t know any of the candidates, but just as many, likely, are undecided because they know several and like them all.
My guess for these following candidates is that Arroyo wins 7 % but not more. I am truly surprised to see in a poll that though he is better known than Walsh or Golar-Richie, he draws much less of a vote and has a higher unfavorable (21 %) than ANY of the other candidates. Ross wins 7 % — on the strength of substantial funds in his account. Barros wins 7 % (he has surged since the last poll, doubling his vote from 3 %). Consalvo wins 7 % (and maybe less; he has no money). Walczak wins 5 % (he is, after all, against casinos). Which leaves not much for the others.
My guess could be wrong and probably is wrong. But not by much, unless a major story breaks in the next six days or so. Marty Walsh is battling Charlotte Golar-Richie for the second spot on the November ballot. It’s his election day enthusiasm and reach versus her ability to win the same proportion of the undecideds a she has won of those who have chosen. And even then it looks oh so close. Maybe even a recount. It might be a very long night on Primary Day.
—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere