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The Topline: A Year in Review

Polling is an act of political resistance. It agglomerates the messy and inconvenient opinions of everyday people, kneads them into a whole, and forces them through the door into the air-conditioned echo chambers of political elites. This is not newly true, it’s just newly apparent.” That’s from a CommonWealth Magazine piece I wrote early this year, arguing why polling is more important now than ever. A few readers called it a polling manifesto. I’ll take it.

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Uncategorizedmassincpolling
The Topline: Changing the gender balance on Beacon Hill

State Sen. Harriette Chandler, a Democrat from Worcester, became the acting president of the Massachusetts Senate this week, the second woman of the last three leaders to hold the gavel. Four of the state's six key constitutional officers are women, and one of our U.S. senators. In the state Legislature, however, Massachusetts is very far from gender balance, and making no progress. Women make up a slim majority of Massachusetts residents, but only a quarter of state legislators.

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Uncategorizedmassincpolling
The Topline: Gomez still weighing Senate run

The Republican primary field to take on US Sen. Elizabeth Warren next year now includes three candidates, but another contender is still eyeing the race. Businessman and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez is meeting with potential advisors to chart a path forward and still closely considering his options, according to a source with direct knowledge of the discussions.

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Uncategorizedmassincpolling
The Topline: When bad things happen to good polls

Pollsters live in a constant state of anxiety that some external event will happen while their poll is in the field that will upset public opinion and render their data obsolete. The classic example from recent history is when Superstorm Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic just before the 2012 election. That was a double whammy: The event and the government response could have changed public opinion on the race, and many voters in one of the most densely populated areas of the country were displaced or otherwise unable to be asked about it. Those times seem quaint and far off now.

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Uncategorizedmassincpolling
The Topline: Amazon, but for Amazon HQ

With its radically open bidding process for its second headquarters, Amazon is doing to economic development what it did to retail. Amazon, the company that disrupted bookselling and then the selling of most everything else, has thrown economic development agencies for a loop with the bidding to host their second headquarters. 

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Uncategorizedmassincpolling
The Topline: Massachusetts voters fear their own Harvey.

Houston hadn’t even begun to wring itself out from Hurricane Harvey when Irma, now the most powerful storm on record in the Atlantic, began churning towards the Caribbean. Before Irma finished laying waste to the islands, Hurricane Jose lined up behind on a similar track. While it is not expected to follow Irma to Florida, it appears likely to hit some of the same islands. It's also now a Category 4 storm. Meanwhile, Category 2 Hurricane Katia churns in the gulf right off the coast of Mexico.

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Uncategorizedmassincpolling
The Topline: As Tsongas bows out, does the GOP have a shot in the Third?

Massachusetts Congresswoman Niki Tsongas announced yesterday she will not run again for the seat she has held since 2007. Past election results show her seat in the Third Congressional District may be less safe for Democrats than it first appears. Though Tsongas cruised to reelection in her own recent matchups, Charlie Baker won the district by 9 points in his 2014 election, one of several Republicans to fare well there recently. With voters in Tsongas’ district showing they are open to voting Republican, her retirement adds another layer of potential intrigue to the 2018 elections here in Massachusetts.

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The Topline: Left turn ahead? Team Baker looks to reshape coalition for re-election bid.

As Charlie Baker accelerates toward his re-election season, he may have just flipped on his left blinker. If the strategy he shared with donors in a recent meeting is any indication, his campaign may be an even more cross-partisan affair than his governing has been. The Boston Globe reports that in a meeting of his finance committee, “the governor said he must draw nearly a third of Democrats and almost 60 percent of independents.”

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