Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Big Daily Nod A Big Deal?

We apologize for BMG'ing here, but it amuses us to note that the Boston Globe has come around to our endorsement positions. Also, gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick concurred with our view on race in this race.

Let us bask for one or two seconds in the glory of confluence. (...beat...beat...OK.) As regular harrumphers here, we honestly enjoy the contrarian role, but the occasional swim with the tide is easy and pleasant. We won't pretend to have influenced anyone, but the coincidences are nice.

9/11 Diversion: We also apologize for holding off a day on this. September 11th didn't seem appropriate for this. We could have waxed poetic and philosophic on the anniversary, but we each and all had it on our minds already.

So the question now is how big an influence will the commonwealth's biggest daily have on next week's primary vote? The Globe came out strongly for our choices, Deval Patrick for governor and Tim Murray for lieutenant governor.

Ours for Patrick and for Murray were similarly strong, and for similar reasons. We have also heavy-handedly compared and contrasted them with their competitors since the spring.

Now, the Globe is decidedly the hippo in the pool. Local TV and even we bloggers may pretend that we have the eyeballs and hits, but on paper and the Net, the huge daily is far better read. We'll be fascinated to see how much influence we can ascribe to the pair of endorsements.

Almost certainly, the stereotypical newspaper custom of ganging all the endorsements for the whole ballot the day or two before the election is ineffective. People don't clip and carry the editorial or memorize it. However, standalone lead editorials about the top couple of candidates should sway some undecideds. Whether these plugs inspire anyone to get to the polls is another matter.

In this particular Democratic primary, we have lots of undecideds. At this stage, two of the gubernatorial candidates and all three lieutenant ones look pretty good. Plus, half our registered voters are unenrolled in a party. If the purported independents ask for Democratic ballots, they would have a huge effect on the primary, unless they split their votes in proportion to the registered Democrats.

Likewise, to oversimplify on the top spot:
  • Despite those of us who disdain him, Tom Reilly seems to have a smallish, but solid group of supporters. Just like us...blue collar...tough on crime...experienced...
  • Everyone concurs that Patrick has the wide support from a massive grassroots organization. Populism and promises are often tough to beat.
  • Gabrieli owns the airwaves with ads. His supporters claim they ring doorbells too, but it sure looks like a high-spending, media-savvy effort in stark contrast to Patrick's.
If anyone should be paying close attention, it is likely Republican candidate Kerry Healey. She has the Gabrieli style organization and strategy. Cynics say it's a buy-the-election ploy. She might put it that she offers a clear choice and presents it clearly to the voters.

Meanwhile, the Herald endorsed Reilly. Given the heavy-handed columnist support of him, we rather expected it. With the tabloid's low circulation, we also rather doubt this will have a major impact. It will give Reilly blue-collar bragging rights, if not cred, with so many unions going Patrick's way. Even as delusional as he is, Reilly would have been stunned if both local dailies had rejected him.

So as much as we are intellectually and emotionally invested in Patrick and Murray, we shall also watch intently to see if we can pick the pattern. Can the Globe hippo attract crowds in the pool? Do our demographics and spotty New England conservatism blunt the effect of even the largest MSM here? In the particular election, will these endorsements have real power with the undecided voters?

We surmise that:
  • A big turnout in good weather would favor Patrick. He and to a lesser extent Reilly attract likely and loyal voters.
  • The independent and undecided voters are likely to split among the three, with Reilly getting by far the least from this group.
  • The Globe's endorsements might may a few percentage points difference for Patrick and Murray, but certainly not in the hustings and nowhere beyond polls' margins of errors.
This is an anxiety-producing situation and no one here is even running for anything.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not that anyone cares, but since I was expressing skepticism about Patrick in comments to one of your posts a few weeks ago, I thought I'd mention that I've come around too.

I never had a negative impression of him, I just didn't quite get the level of enthusiasm of some. I still don't, actually, but his debate performance convinced me that he's the best candidate on offer.

(And Gabrielli has really turned me off with his Republican-style attacks on Patrick.)