Sunday, June 10, 2007

City Council Campaign Phone Survey: Should Candidates Run Towards, or Away From, the Mayor?

I occasionally see quotations, information, and the like from the Brighton Centered blog appear in other places in the media. But this week I saw it appear in a different form: as part of a political phone survey conducted in Allston-Brighton.

I got a call last Monday night (June 4) from a market research guy working for Connections Strategies doing a phone survey related to the race for the open Allston-Brighton District City Council seat.
  • Only seven candidates' names were given in the survey: Benjamin Bloomenthal and Paul Creighton were omitted.
  • Several key issues questions in the survey were related to institutional expansion.
  • An interesting question (approximately): Do you want a City Councilor who will work with Mayor Menino and other elected officials, or who will stand up independently despite the consequences? The poll had several questions related to Menino, suggesting that this candidate has some interest in whether to run towards, or away from, the Mayor.
  • Fairly accurate descriptions of each candidate were read, asking for a response. I recognize some of that information as having flowed off of this Brighton Centered blog (or the A-B TAB), since there has been little additional information on all the candidates.
  • Nothing was blatantly a "push poll," where a poisoned grape is placed in the question to try to build opposition to a candidate, instead of doing actual polling. (Like: "What would you think if Candidate X were found to have twenty-seven wives?")
My guess right after hanging up the phone, based on no insider knowledge: it was paid for by the Schofield campaign. I only base this on: (1) a few pieces of information for various candidates that were included or excluded (probably intentionally); and (2) he's the candidate with the strongest fund-raising record in previous elections, and hence is most likely to be able to afford this substantial expense particularly this early in the campaign. I won't mention the exact items leading me to the conclusion in #1, and I'll defer to a future posting the campaign finance data which form the basis for #2.

I am gratified that at least the information from Brighton Centered did not get used in a push poll. Things could've been worse... And it's a sign that the campaign has not turned negative.

The fact that only seven candidates were identified in the poll led me to call up the Boston Elections Department and write about how the other two candidates did not submit sufficient signatures to get onto the ballot. The winnowing of the field from nine to seven had not been reported prior that blog post.

What do you think about the Mayor Menino element in this phone survey? Is the Mayor enjoying high popularity ratings in Allston-Brighton? Or have residents grown weary of his long tenure and the perception of him being pro-development?

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