Insiders Poll: Marty Walsh Will Be Boston’s Next Mayor

The results of another political insiders poll.

You’ve got to hand it to my anonymous Boston political insiders—they’ve been uncannily accurate in predicting this year’s results (at least, in the aggregate). When I polled them on who would win the mayoral race, back in early May and again in late July, they put John Connolly and Marty Walsh well ahead of the rest. They even correctly predicted seven of the eight at-large City Council finalists—barely missing with Annissa Essaibi George, who they ranked ninth.

(Can you believe some nitwit had the nerve to call these super-geniuses a bunch of idiots? Shameful.)

A week after the preliminary election did, in fact, narrow the mayoral field to Connolly and Walsh, I went back to my insiders and asked them to predict the winner.

The results are in: 55 percent say Marty Walsh will win in November; 45 percent say John Connolly will prevail.

Not exactly a landslide consensus agreement, but a clear edge to Walsh.

Many of those predicting a Walsh victory credit his strong base of support, his immense and intense army of volunteers, and to a lesser degree his stellar fundraising. Several observe that he is picking up support in progressive and minority communities—and they expect that trend to pick up as he gains key endorsements. Some also argue that Connolly is not wearing well on the public, and is coming across as too calculated and political—especially against Walsh’s regular-guy authenticity.

But those picking Connolly say his inroads among progressives and minorities outweigh Walsh’s strong base; they see Connolly as the more natural heir to the Arroyo, Barros, and Ross votes (regardless of who they endorse), as well as the geographically compatible Conley and Consalvo votes. And, some are convinced that the ongoing patrolman’s union controversy will exacerbate Walsh’s difficulty with voters wary of a union-friendly mayor.

For the moment, at least, the Walsh argument sways more of the insiders than the Connolly one.

Turning to the City Council, almost all of the insiders agree that Michael Flaherty, Stephen Murphy, Ayanna Pressley, and Michelle Wu will be elected to the four at-large seats—although there were a couple who predict Murphy to lose to either Jack Kelly or Jeff Ross.

Of those who expect those four to win, a strong plurality predict that Kelly will finish fifth—despite his eighth-place finish in the preliminary.

The No. 5 spot could be important because that person would fill any vacancy that might occur in the at-large seats in the coming two years.

Kelly was the fifth-place prediction of 44 percent of the insiders, followed by Martin Keogh 24 percent, Jeff Ross 20 percent, and Annissa Essaibi George 13 percent.

I also asked the insiders to predict the winner of the District 2 rematch, between incumbent Bill Linehan and challenger Suzanne Lee. A solid 70 percent say Lee will win, and just 30 percent say Linehan.