New article: From Capuano’s 7th to Tierney’s 6th, a partisan ranking of MA Congressional districts

I have just posted a new article with a quantitative ranking and analysis of the nine Massachusetts Congressional districts:

http://massnumbers.blogspot.com/2013/01/from-capuanos-7th-to-tierneys-6th.html

While all nine Massachusetts Congressional districts were won by Democrats in November, the districts are by no means equally liberal. I will break down and quantify the Democratic-lean of the districts from Mike Capuano’s incredibly blue Boston-based 7th District, to John Tierney’s barely Democratic North Shore-based 6th District, and the finer gradations of districts in between. The districts held by Ed Markey and Steve Lynch are within the liberal end of the Democratic-leaning bunch, and are fairly safe bets to stay in the Democratic column if one of them is elected as the new U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.

Read more…



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8 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Very interesting

    Are you weighting by population of town, number of registered voters, or something else related to turnout?

    I think your numbers may understate Democratic support because a third of the sample involves Scott Brown. He played it right in 2009-10 and created for himself a cross-over appeal that remained largely intact in 2012. Your town numbers show that in both of his races he outperformed the other GOP nominees (McCain, Romney, Healey, Baker) by a lot in virtually every town.

    He alone is making a fair number of the GOP-leaning towns red. I note that in the towns tilting by under 5% to GOP side, the Dems generally won 3 of the 4 non-Brown races, the 2010 Patrick-Baker race usually being the exception.

  2. Do the averages

    break cities like Boston, which are divided into more than one House district, down into precincts, or do you assign the citywide results to both Lynch and Capuano?

    • This is crucial.

      It appears to me (I read the linked blog post too) that this ranking assigns all of “Boston” (very Democratic) to both Lynch and Capuano.

      When, the fact is, that Lynch’s part of Boston is considerably more conservative than the precincts represented by Capuano. As such, breaking Boston in to precincts (which doesn’t seem like it was done in this analysis) would make Lynch’s 8th considerable less Democratic and Capuano’s 7th even more Democratic.

      Please, bwb, correct me if I am wrong in this interpretation.

      • This was my sense too

        When, the fact is, that Lynch’s part of Boston is considerably more conservative than the precincts represented by Capuano. As such, breaking Boston in to precincts (which doesn’t seem like it was done in this analysis) would make Lynch’s 8th considerable less Democratic and Capuano’s 7th even more Democratic.

        Since the numbers match exactly, it’s clear Boston was counted in full in both districts. I understand why, a precinct breakdown is hard work. But it does overstate the Democratic nature of Lynch’s district to some extent.

        In Boston, Lynch has South Boston, Beacon Hill, North End, eastern half of Dorchester, West Roxbury, Roslindale, JP. Southie and West Roxbury in particular are “Democratic” but open to Brown-type Republicans. Since Brown was in 2 of the 6 races tracked, a breakdown would make Lynch’s district more GOP-friendly. But I’m not sure that translates much to races where Brown’s not running.

  3. How do these compare...

    …with the traditional D+x ratings we usually see for CDs?

  4. Stephen Neal???

    The 1st Congressional District currently represented by “Stephen Neal” (per your article,) comprises much of Western Massachusetts and has the largest count of municipalities with 86 cities and towns. While there are plenty of Republican-leaning towns in the southern part of the district, these are far outweighed by the Democratic strongholds including cities like Pittsfield and Springfield, and towns like Williamstown, North Adams, and Great Barrington. The weighted average is 24.7%, less than half the Democratic lean of Capuano’s 7th District.

    Maybe the new Congressman Stephen Neal will become a progressive Democrat now that the Berkshires will be watching -:)

    Course none of it really matters with Springfield and most gateway cities rolling Blue all the time. Be clear my friend that the new District 1 will expect more from the Congressman than the previous District 2 received.

    The head count matters in these scenarios too. The incumbent’s home base in Hampden County is over 52% of the western Massachusetts population. Hampden to Berkshire County is approximately 464,000:130,000.

  5. We need to put a lot of effort into organizing the 6th

    I don’t think it’s trending the right way, and Tierney’s actually been outperforming a lot of other candidates who run in the district. (Warren was smoked there, for example.)

    In particularly, towns like Saugus used to be very evenly divided and is now getting pretty red, while towns like Beverly and Marblehead used to lean blue and are a tossup.

    A lot of this is probably demographics — younger people who were raised here not coming back, etc. — but it’s something that we should at least be thinking about.

    RyansTake   @   Fri 1 Feb 10:16 PM
    • I generally agree

      I recall your saying the 6th was a tougher district than McGovern’s and these numbers certainly bear that out. And many North Shore towns were bastions of old-fashioned moderate Yankee Republicanism. But as I said above, I would not extrapolate too much from the results of races with Scott Brown. The 128-to-495 belt is exactly where he ran best, and I’d imagine he’d do very well in Wakefield and nearby since he grew up there and tons of people know him. Brown built a moderate persona and many people still see him that way. They might not be as open to another type of Republican.

      My thought on a town like Saugus is that the Mass. Democratic Party, while not backing off on progressive issues like choice and environment, needs to embrace labor causes more openly and not seem so limousine-ish. Some of this is just style. This is an issue nationwide and we’re seeing it more and more here.

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