Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is Massachusetts in Play? – 1980 Revisited

Massachusetts as a Red State - Impossible! - On the 2008 electoral map, MA has been blue since the primaries – most probably because this particular state trends Democrat in most cases – the key here is most cases. What is noticeable to residents in this state is the sheer number of campaign commercials airing from both the Obama Campaign and the McCain campaign. One outside of the Bay State might think that this is the norm, however, most often, the Bay State is given little to no notice from either party. In 2004, commercials ran on most national networks, sporadically at best – 2008 is another ballgame. Perhaps it is easy to explain – both campaigns have ridiculous amounts of money to burn – therefore, the least competitive state is being treated like the rest of the country. That said, a recent series of articles in the Springfield Republican, the major daily in Western Massachusetts, is getting a good deal of attention. The basis of these articles is human interest mixed with politics, perspectives from ordinary people on why they chose a particular candidate. One woman’s story has resulted in a high comment count, perhaps the highest commented story on this site; it is not the woman’s reason for voting Obama that is in question, it is the comments that accompany the article. The woman who has chosen to vote for Obama is doing so for economic reasons; that said, she is someone who has needed assistance from the State for her entire adult life – it is evident that the message getting across to Bay Staters that the Obama tax plan is nothing more than additional hand-outs (to put it kindly), is working.

What about the polls? The state is considered safe due to two polls, one taken by Rasmussen and one by Suffolk University. The Suffolk Poll gives Obama a 19 point advantage over McCain. Suffolk University, a Boston based institution, has been conducting polls on its home turf as well as in states across the country, specifically in Nevada, Florida, Ohio and Missouri, Colorado and Virginia (Key States). The Massachusetts Poll, taken October 22, 2008, was based on a total of 400 registered voters (from Suffolk Marginals). 24% of those from Central (Worcester) MA and Western MA, the balance from the Eastern portion of the state with the heaviest concentration, 35%, from Boston North, 8% from Suffolk. The balance of Republican, Democrat and Independents (15%, 36% and 49% respectively, which is an approximate make-up of the electorate). Question 11 asks the respondents which of the six candidates on the ballot they would choose. Baldwin received 1%, Barr, 1%, McCain 31%, McKinny 1%, Nadar 3%, Obama 47%, Undecided 17% and Refused, 1%. 18% of the respondents either refused to answer or remain undecided – in Massachusetts, in a poll that is heavily skewed to Eastern Part of the State, which is where the highest concentration of Democrats reside. This schematic gives Obama a 16 point lead over McCain among likely voters, the subsequent question asked those Undecided on the 22 of October, which way they were leaning – which gave Obama an additional 3 points. Should 18% lean to McCain; according to his poll, Massachusetts’s 12 electoral votes would be added to his tally. Looking at this polling data, one could also consider Massachusetts to be – in play.

Why so many undecideds at this late date? Some possible and plausible reasons: 1) The State has been under control of one party for the past two years, prior to that, Massachusetts normally chose a Republican governor to offset the Democrat Legislature, with the result being a heavy burdened tax base, yet with a conservative advocate to alleviate some of the pain. Duval Patrick was elected based on hope, change, and “Yes We Can” – this message was an economic message, based on tax relief for the middle class and the fact that climate did not favor a Republican; this was the lead-up to the 2008 primary season. The reality: tax breaks for the middle class did not appear and the state budget went out of control; which is now resulting in budget cuts and bailouts from the Federal government (see comments on the article referred to in the first paragraph). Regardless of party affiliation, the Massachusetts fiasco can only be blamed on one group – there simply are no Republican’s (or a limited minority in the legislature) to blame. It is the perfect marriage, regardless of party, that can wreck perfect chaos in government. Lastly, there is a general dissatisfaction in the Democrat Base over John Kerry’s Iraq vote and his Endorsement of Obama over Clinton. John Kerry faced his first opponent from his own party in 24 years, handily defeating Ed O’Reilly by 61% - leaving 39% of the vote on the table. Support for Clinton in the Bay State remains high – would these voters go to McCain? - It is possible and probable

Although this is all speculation, (based on polling, higher commercials, and a climate that just does not bode well for entitlement programs), one cannot help but wonder if the Bay State will step back in time – to 1980. In 1980, Massachusetts was written off as “Safe” for Carter – food for thought. The balance of the polls across the nation are tightening, and, in these final days, one thing is certain, this will be a tight race – where it will be impossible to predict an outcome and anything can happen.


Jimmy Lewis said...

I'm beginning to smell two major upsets on November 4th ... McCain over Obama and Beatty over Kerry ... And if there is any true justice left in this country then please let it be so.

P.S. Now if we could somehow get Dana Walsh to beat Pelosi, then everything would be right with the world again ...

Lisa said...

Fabulous breakdown of the polls, you are a genius. I now have some hope that maybe McCain pulls off a win in Massachusetts. Wouldn't that just get Obama's briefs in a bunch..

Chuck said...

Am I remembering wrong, or was Obama quite a ways ahead of Hillary right before the primary? Just saying.

beachmom said...


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