Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Non-Scientific JP Sigs

I did get through the Knowthyneighbor database enough to gather the 500 Jamaica Plain Dark Siders who signed the anti-SSM amendment petition. If you want to see if your name or that of anyone else you know is there, click away. It's cooking now.

Surely both sides are analyzing the demographics of the petition signers. They'd like to know which neighborhoods and towns are favorable and unfavorable to their position, as well as which groups within each are likely to vote their way.

In a very unscientific scan of the 500 JP results, I can hear such gears clicking. Here, I see that the percentage that signed was a little over half the statewide average –– about 1.2 percent to about 2.2 percent signed, raw populations, not voters or likely voters.

JP is a variegated blob of a made-up community. Unlike most Boston neighborhoods, it was neverr a separate town and today shows considerable variety, surely the most in Boston. There are snooty, rich, WASPy areas, long-term Irish-American ones, poor Latino immigrant staging grounds, dangerous housing project areas, and more. We can all qualify for a 02130 tee-shirt.

A scan of the Filthy 500 shows a disproportionate share of Latino names, mostly from poorer neighborhoods. There are a smattering of EasternEuropeann and Asian names, but they would not begin to represent their share of JP population.

It's likely that sociologists, pollsters, political groups and politicians can draw their own conclusions. How Catholic, how Hispanic cultural, how this, how that will all factor into where campaigners put their time and money. It's likely also that legislators will scan their areas and see how representative the signers are of their voters, which in turn would help determine how they will stand when this amendment comes before the General Court next year.

My scan looks like the poor, less educated voters from Catholic and evangelical, traditional backgrounds signed. If they were convinced or coerced by priests and peers, they likely represent diminishing returns. There aren't a lot more to pick from those trees.

If my quick reading on JP is any indication, the Spite and Fright Circus folk have a long way to go to convince mainstream voters to go their way.


Kari Chisholm said...

Given my experience with tracking initiative signatures, the demographics of the signature population probably more accurately reflect the demographics of the people they hired to collect signatures. (Latino workers collect sigs in Latino neighborhoods, etc.)

Also, they probably disproportionately targeted high-density neighborhoods. Even if the rural parts of the state are heavily supportive of the measure, they won't likely go there to get sigs - too much driving.

massmarrier said...

Thanks for the insights. Much of that is likely true here and now, but we do have a wild card or two.

One is that many of the sigs came not from supermarket tables or door-to-door. The RC and some evangelical churches used padre and peer pressure at services. That strongly skews the petitions.

As for JP, it is a solicitor's paradise. Single family, two family and triple decker houses cheek to jowl delight everyone from Witnesses to environmentalists. You don't have to drive at all, houses are so close that you can career from one to the next.

What is odd in this made-up neighborhood is that it has so many discrete sub-neighborhoods -- a large pocket of well-to-do, over-educated WASPs and a half-mile away, an equally dense clot of immigrant Latinos. JP is likely the least homogeneous Boston section.

I'm betting that in the few large cities in this state there will be a big class/education divide in picking sides on this. This may end up like Maine's attempt to rescind gay rights. The more populous, better educated city areas favored equality and outvoted the anti forces in the burbs, sub- and ex-.