The Economic Geography of the #MAgov Primary

You guys have you seen Poll Vault yet? It’s a wicked great election season tag-team between WBUR, MassINC Polling and CommonWealth, with a deep focus on data-driven reporting. We’re like Voltron, just way more spreadsheet-ier.

So! Click on over to this awesome map and chart we put together that explains where — and why — Martha Coakley won last week’s Democratic primary. We plotted each Democratic candidate’s winning towns by municipal income, and you won’t believe what happened. Or maybe you will? Steve Grossman won wealthier suburbs. Don Berwick won some super-rich suburbs and also some super-lefty towns out west. Martha Coakley rolled in the cities, posting an 11-point win over Grossman in towns with below-average local incomes. There’s all that, and more, in this super-fancy interactive graphic you see below.

One dataviz to rule them all!

Primary Results and Demographics, by TownClick on a town on the map to highlight the data point on the chart below.

Cleaning House at City Hall


You have questions about Marty Walsh’s Boston Redevelopment Authority. So, so many questions. And now, we have answers. Click on over here for my latest for Boston magazine: a feature about Boston’s new mayor tearing apart machinery of City Hall, and rebuilding it to his own ends. Plus, it features the agency’s current boss saying stuff like this: “Everybody [inside the BRA] has a beef about what we do wrong. There’s no one here who thinks everything is fine. Most have a fairly healthy catalog of grievances.”

Mapping Demographics and Voting in Boston

final vote margins in majority-minority

A month ago, I wrote a piece for CommonWealth about how both of Boston’s mayoral hopefuls were mining communities of color for votes. Marty Walsh and John Connolly had fared equally poorly in these neighborhoods in September’s preliminary, collecting votes in majority-minority neighborhoods at roughly half the rate they did in majority-white neighborhoods.

I did some followup work on this after the November 5 election, and found that one of the main reasons Walsh topped Connolly was because he topped Connolly by 20 points in majority-minority precincts, despite trailing by 11 in majority-white precincts.

final vote margins in arroyo barros richie

The magnitude of these differences really pops visually. At the top of the page, I mapped the candidates’ vote margins in majority-minority precincts; above, vote margins in precincts won in September by Felix Arroyo, John Barros and Charlotte Golar Richie — the three minority candidates who endorsed Walsh.

Here’s an interactive version of the majority-minority map, here’s the corresponding map of results in majority-white precincts, and here’s the interactive Arroyo-Barros-Richie map.