Early Voter Turnout Is Up, A Sign of Hope for John Connolly

The thinking goes that the higher the turnout, the better for Connolly—even though all is in no way lost for Marty Walsh.

As of 9 a.m., 26,125 ballots had been cast in Boston—nearly 50 percent more than at the same time in the September 24 preliminary election. That means we’re on pace for far more than that day’s turnout of 113,319, or 30 percent.

That should be good news for John Connolly; just about every insider I talk to agrees that the higher the turnout, the better for Connolly. Marty Walsh’s supporters are presumed to be more eager to get to the polls; they also tend to be long-time, regular-voting Boston residents. Connolly’s supporters, by contrast, are thought to be younger, more transient types who vote more in big Presidential elections.

Connolly partisans can also take heart in where the extra voters are coming from. Wards 2, 3, and 4 are all running at or near double their prelim turnout; those are the Charlestown/Waterfront/Back Bay/Fenway areas where Connolly expects to do very well. Allston-Brighton is also way up, and the Connolly team hopes to win there as well.

It’s not all bad news for Walsh, though. South Boston’s Wards 6 and 7 are way up in the early voting. And remember that the Walsh team expects to get a big advantage in the late voting from its massive ground game.

Neither Walsh’s home base of Ward 16, or Connolly’s home base of Ward 20, are keeping pace with the overall increase—they’re up 27 percent and 21 percent respectively—but as I noted yesterday, Connolly needs a bigger jump from 20 than Walsh needs from 16.

Early numbers also don’t suggest that Boston’s black precincts are likely to be the difference-makers today. But East Boston could be: thanks to the casino vote, Ward 1 is running 114 percent ahead of preliminary day, the biggest increase in the city.

All of this is just reading tea leaves from the first two hours of voting; there’s a long way to go and much more to see—and, of course, we don’t know who these people are actually voting for.

But these are pretty much the numbers the Connolly team needed to see, to think that they can pull this one out.