Mayoral Power Rankings: It’s John vs. Marty

With eight weeks until Boston’s preliminary election, I have gone back to my anonymous political insiders for an update on how they see the mayoral race.

The answer: city councilor John Connolly and state representative Marty Walsh are considered the clear co-favorites, running neck-and-neck for the big office.

That’s the same top two as in my initial Power Rankings, back in mid-May. But Walsh’s edge over Connolly has evaporated, with Connolly now holding the slight advantage in the poll.

And there’s been a shake-up below them — albeit far below: city councilor Rob Consalvo, ranked 6th in May, has vaulted to third, just ahead of District Attorney Dan Conley, with the two of them constituting a distinct second tier. City councilor Felix Arroyo, once 3rd, is now 5th, narrowly ahead of former state representative Charlotte Golar Richie.

City councilor Mike Ross again brings up the rear among the seven seen as viable by the insiders, who still see Bill Walczak and John Barros as long-shots.

Some important notes about the poll. Many of the insiders polled have clear conflicts of interest, with one or more of the candidates — I frankly don’t think there are many local political insiders who don’t have such conflicts, officially or otherwise. I offered all the respondents confidentiality in exchange for their honest appraisal, and tried to include as much of a mix as possible to even out the biases. I received 68 responses this time, compared with 78 in the May poll. (Insiders take summer vacations too.)

Points are awarded according to the Major League Baseball MVP Award system: 14 points for 1st, 9 for 2nd, 8 for 3rd, and so on to 1 point for 10th.

(Note: I also polled the experts on which 8 at-large city council candidates they think will make it through the preliminary. Those results tomorrow!)

Now, on to the rankings, with my brief summary of their observations.

1. John Connolly, 715 points; 28 first-place votes

Insiders are increasingly convinced that his early start and successful branding as the school-reform candidate has made Connolly a leader in the race for one of the final two spots. Some say they are sensing at least a temporarily maxing out his reach; some also think that, when it comes down to it, Tom Menino and his supporters will find a way to stop Connolly from becoming mayor. But all things considered, Connolly’s early start, stellar organization, and fundraising make him the current favorite.

2. Marty Walsh, 708 points; 25 first-place votes

Walsh has continued to raise money, and show great organizational strength, while nearly monopolizing labor support and expanding his geographic base, in part through the recovery community. But, there is a growing sense among some that Walsh, like Connolly reaching an upper limit, and could have more trouble expanding beyond that. His growing cash reserves and army of volunteers could help break through that barrier.

3. Rob Consalvo, 491 points; 7 first-place votes

A lot of insiders are impressed with Consalvo’s energy and organization. There’s still skepticism, but a growing sense that he could do it — especially if more and more of Menino’s people abandon hope in Richie, and board the Robbie train.

4. Dan Conley, 480 points, 3 first-place votes

There’s more to life that money, but not much more to the belief that Conley is still in strong position. A lot of the insiders think Conley is still well positioned for a spot in the final, but many think there is too much resistance to him — particularly among the city’s racial minorities — for him to win a final.

5. Felix Arroyo, 394 points, 3 first-place votes

There’s been a clear drop in insiders’ views of his chances — he’s not raising the money, he’s done surprisingly poorly in polls, and not many believe there will really be a flood of Hispanic voters in the preliminary. But some say he’s working hard, and shows a solid base of name-recognition and favorability in those polls. There’s a real divide between those who still see a potential path to victory for Arroyo, and those who count him out completely.

6. Charlotte Golar Richie, 389 points, 1 first-place vote

Huge disappointment abounds, in her fundraising, organization, message, and energy, but there are still those who see an open path to victory if she turns things around.

7. Mike Ross, 323 points, 1 first-place vote

A number of the insiders say they, or others they’ve heard from, have been impressed by him on the stump and at forums — but without a large base of voters, and without the huge fundraising numbers some anticipated, few see how he can win one of the two final spots.

8. Bill Walczak, 166 points, 0 first-place votes

Perhaps his seizure of the anti-casino mantle will change some minds, but as of this poll the insiders aren’t sensing any upward movement.

9. John Barros, 155 points, 0 first-place votes

Most common comment: impressive, but should have run for city council.

10. Charles Yancey, 78 points, 0 first-place votes

Yancey is correct: the city’s political class is not taking his campaign seriously.

11. Charles Clemons, 10 points, 0 first-place votes

12. David James Wyatt, 4 points, 0 first-place votes