November 05, 2013

Marty Walsh, left, and John Connolly

1. Marty Walsh’s campaign is confident; John Connolly’s organization is hopeful. Although Walsh is the frontrunner — and has been since the September primary — Connolly could still win. But that would depend on strong turnout.

2. Imagine a theoretical turnout of 125,000 voters, that’s 11,691 more than in the preliminary. The lower the turnout below that baseline, the greater Walsh’s margin of victory is likely to be. Above that baseline, Connolly’s chances of an upset increase proportionately.

3. How does this work? It’s simple: Voters who failed to cast a ballot in the primary have told pollsters that they favor Connolly by a margin of about 20 percent. If Connolly is to win, he needs to get these voters to the polls.

4. How about the vote in communities of color? If there is high turnout, Connolly should be okay. If turnout is lower, however, the psychological impact of all those “minority” endorsements should boost Walsh.

5. Add No. 3 and No. 4 and you come to the conclusion that Connolly’s fate may be in the hands of white progressive voters, such as those that live in the South End, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill.

6. Jamaica Plain, which enjoys more than a passing resemblance to the People’s Republic of Cambridge, is a battleground neighborhood. I live in JP. My anecdotal read of the neighborhood is that people with kids in the public schools lean toward Connolly. Those without children, or those with kids still too young for school, seem to be tilting Walsh.

7. I don’t have a good feel for the casino vote in East Boston. Whatever its outcome, Connolly seems to have strength in Eastie. Keep an eye on the East Boston Hispanic vote. Will Felix Arroyo be able to boost Walsh? (Less than half of East Boston’s residents are noncitizen residents and are not eligible to vote.)

8. In Charlestown, the contest is between the New Boston residents who live on the hill around the monument and the blue-collar, Old Bostonians at sea level.

9. The Walsh camp assumes victory in South Boston. Connolly’s campaign says the margin will be narrower than people think.

10. Also contested ground is Hyde Park — Mayor Tom Menino’s backyard and home base to City Councilor Rob Consalvo, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor. During the preliminary, I detected a strong vein of support for Walsh. Connolly needs to either neutralize or overcome this, while simultaneously maximizing his base in West Roxbury and Roslindale.

2013 Boston Mayor

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