Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Predictions for the Boston City Council Election

These predictions are being submitted at the close of the polls on Tuesday, November 6th. If I'm totally off-mark, then please take every opportunity to laugh at me without end.

Allston-Brighton District 9 City Councilor

Mark Ciommo will carry the election in what approaches a landslide, predicted at 57-43% -- but possibly as high as 60%-40% -- and a difference of at least 900 votes.

Turnout. With lots of rain forecast and a city-wide (non-Mayoral) City Councilor-At-Large race with only one strong challenger, the turnout will be lower than expected, probably close to 6500 votes in Allston-Brighton. Those 2000 votes of people who didn't show up for the preliminary election are Glennon's best -- and only -- chance to pull out a win today.

Russian Jewish elderly vote. They vote in large numbers in preliminary and primary elections, which means that there's not a lot of room to grow into the final or general election. Glennon picked up 302 votes in Ward 21, Precinct 13 to Ciommo's 142. Look for, at most, 200 more votes among these Wallingford Road -- and that the forces of darkness will twist both Ukrainian arms to turn it into a true voting bloc. Probably another 50-100 votes in the less-Russian, but still elderly, Precinct 12. Glennon +200 votes relative to Ciommo.

Who will Schofield-Hanlon-Selvig supporters vote for? In the preliminary municipal election on September 25th that saw 4500 total votes cast, Tim Schofield took third with 965 votes, Rosie Hanlon fourth with 576 votes, Alex Selvig fifth with 293 votes, and James Jenner sixth with 28 votes. That comes to 1862 votes up-for-grabs, or 41% of the overall vote. On September 26th, all these voters were looking hard at Ciommo and Glennon to figure out who to vote for.

All four candidates who finished out of the running have since endorsed Ciommo.

I haven't met a single Schofield supporter who admits to now being a Glennon supporter. There must be some, there really must be some... so I'll make a conservative estimate that Ciommo picks up Schofield's votes 80-20%.

Selvig supporters congregated around Boston College's new Brighton Campus area in Ward 22, Precinct 8 where Glennon supporters Patrick Galvin and Mark Alford are long-time and influential residents. The Selvig supporters I have spoken to, however, are breaking Ciommo, so I'll put it at 65-35%.

Hanlon supporters come from all over the district and have a variety of constituencies: business owners, long-time residents, more conservative Irish Catholics, etc. She took a long time to decide to support Ciommo, and I think her supporters will show similar difficulty choosing between the two: 50-50%.

What do these numbers mean? Ciommo picks up 1250 votes from the other candidates' supporters, while Glennon only picks up 600. Advantage Ciommo, +650. Big, big advantage which more than neutralizes Glennon's elderly pick-up.

Ward 21 progressive precincts. Forget-about-it.

Irish Catholic vote near Oak Square. Ciommo walloped Glennon in Ward 22, Precincts 7, 10, and 11, while Glennon tied him in 4 and 6. These precincts will be the bell-wether of the election: if Galvin, Alford, and former State Representative Brian Golden call up every single person they have ever remotely heard ever came within three miles of this neighborhood, then Glennon may get close here and make the race overall relatively close. But if Ciommo carries 7, 10, and 11 with big margins, then it's lights out. In one of Governor Patrick's casinos I would bet on the latter.

Other new voters in final election. This leaves 1600 new voters in the municipal election who didn't vote on September 25th. They haven't been following the race as closely, so they base their votes on the limited information coming from the mainstream media and other factors (like endorsements).

Glennon picked up the Boston Herald endorsement, but virtually nothing else aside from a former Mayor who lives elsewhere, a former State Representative who lives elsewhere, and the gentlemen of Lake Street.

Ciommo cleaned up on the endorsements, getting the Boston Globe and Allston-Brighton TAB, all the other (defeated) candidates, all the unions, and the only two local elected officials who made endorsements (current State Representative Michael Moran and current State Senator Steven Tolman).

Up until these last 1600 votes, Ciommo was winning 56-44%. Give Ciommo 60-40% among these final-election-only voters, which is Ciommo +300.

All told, that's Ciommo by 900 votes out of 6500 total votes cast, or 57-43%.

Boston City Councilor-At-Large

I don't pretend to understand the nitty-gritty voting patterns of the city-wide race. Let me say that again, so that you don't misunderstand.

I was quoted last week as saying that this race is too close to call. More specifically, Councilor Michael Flaherty will easily top the ticket again, as he did in 2005. Other than that, I believed it to be a toss-up between Councilors Felix Arroyo, Stephen Murphy, Sam Yoon, and challenger John Connolly.

The election-eve hijinks of Connolly with his campaign's anonymous mailing attacking Councilor Murphy threw a wrench into the machine. While I am active in the blogosphere -- and the blogosphere was totally abuzz with establishing the links between the mailing and Connolly, as well as expressing negative comments afterwards -- the web probably only could managed to move hundreds of votes, or maybe a thousand, from Connolly to Councilor Murphy. It could've been the margin in a very close race... but probably not enough.

Councilor Murphy's rapid response mailing, however, extended the reach of the escapade to people who had no idea that any of this had been going on all weekend. He'll get extra sympathy votes from all over town. On top of that, Connolly got the bad press of a story on the Boston Globe City/Region front page on election morning. Yuck.

A race that was too close to call isn't quite anymore. Connolly takes fifth place, again, by a few thousand votes. All the incumbents are re-elected. Matthew Geary gets a nice, but distant, sixth place: he showed far more understanding of local political issues than any other 22-year-old you could dream up.

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