Mayoral Polling (And Questionable Interpretation) Has Arrived

The results of a new Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll.

New Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll:  John Connolly 12%; Marty Walsh 11%; Dan Conley 9%; Rob Consalvo 8%; Mike Ross 5%; Charlotte Golar Richie 5%; Felix Arroyo 4%; Charles Yancey 3%; Bill Walczak 2%; Charles Clemons 1%; John Barros 1%; David Wyatt 0%; Undecided 40%.

Before my discussion, a quick observation about the poll. The pollsters included, in their words, “tightly screened likely voters,” which appears to mean those who say they are very likely to vote AND know that the preliminary election is in September.

That’s not an unreasonable idea, but pretty clearly skewed the results too far, toward traditionally high-political-participation demographics—particularly since those demos live in the neighborhoods where the best-organized candidates have thus far been concentrating their efforts. This is not necessarily at all reflective of who will be aware of, and interested in, the mayoral race come September.

Anyway, this is, like all polls, a snapshot of the race—and this snapshot comes after a couple of months of low-visibility campaigning, as we appear poised to move into a somewhat elevated awareness. Dan Conley announced that he’s starting TV ads. Felix Arroyo is launching Spanish-language ads on local Telemundo and Univision. The Globe has made new mayoral-race-coverage assignments, from what I’m told. And candidates are getting the resources and organizations in place to step up their games.

Suffolk polling maven David Paleologos declares that this snapshot shows that the race has developed three tiers of candidates. I think that’s nonsense. But assignment editors all over town have been waiting for such tiers to develop, because—no offense intended—they’re too lazy, ignorant, unimaginative and/or disinterested to figure out how to cover a truly open, multi-candidate race. So Paleologos’s pronouncement might have a real effect on coverage of the race for a while—and that can make a difference.

What the snapshot looks like to me—to the extent we can trust either poll—is that, in the month since that John Connolly internal poll I reported, the two candidates with the biggest early organizations, Walsh and Consalvo, were able to pick up a few votes, while the candidates with most appeal to so-called “New Bostonians” either stalled or got screwed by the Suffolk tight voter screen.