Cities are Democratic turf

Yet Baker holding his own

Fewer than two weeks separate Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker from Election Day. The two major gubernatorial candidates are locked in a dead heat, and as they both scramble to cobble together a winning coalition, no subsection of the state looms larger than Massachusetts cities.

Urban areas are a cornerstone of the Democratic base in Massachusetts. And Baker, a Republican who’s making his second run at the governor’s office, has been targeting these traditional Democratic voters since he launched his campaign in Lowell last year. Wednesday, Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham highlighted efforts by both Baker and Coakley to win over urban voters.

The charts below illustrate the political imperative behind Baker and Coakley’s urban bent. Most of the state’s biggest cities have swung sharply toward Democratic candidates in recent years; this swing has played a large part in turning 16 straight years of Republican control over the Corner Office into a string of recent victories by Democrats like Deval Patrick, Elizabeth Warren, and Ed Markey. Baker is hoping to reverse these recent Democratic gains.

WBUR polling shows Coakley enjoyed a 21-point lead among voters in 27 key cities — Boston and the state’s 26 Gateway Cities — at the end of August. By the end of last week, Baker had narrowed that lead to 9 points. The 9-point margin separating Coakley from Baker in these key urban centers is the same spread that separated Coakley from Scott Brown in their 2010 US Senate race. When Patrick beat Baker four years ago, he won the cities by 22 points — a figure that’s almost identical to the one that separated Coakley from Baker at the end of the summer.

Meet the Author

Paul McMorrow

Associate Editor, CommonWealth

About Paul McMorrow

Paul McMorrow comes to CommonWealth from Banker & Tradesman, where he covered commercial real estate and development. He previously worked as a contributing editor to Boston magazine, where he covered local politics in print and online. He got his start at the Weekly Dig, where he worked as a staff writer, and later news and features editor. Paul writes a frequent column about real estate for the Boston Globe’s Op-Ed page, and is a regular contributor to BeerAdvocate magazine. His work has been recognized by the City and Regional Magazine Association, the New England Press Association, and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. He is a Boston University graduate and a lifelong New Englander.

About Paul McMorrow

Paul McMorrow comes to CommonWealth from Banker & Tradesman, where he covered commercial real estate and development. He previously worked as a contributing editor to Boston magazine, where he covered local politics in print and online. He got his start at the Weekly Dig, where he worked as a staff writer, and later news and features editor. Paul writes a frequent column about real estate for the Boston Globe’s Op-Ed page, and is a regular contributor to BeerAdvocate magazine. His work has been recognized by the City and Regional Magazine Association, the New England Press Association, and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. He is a Boston University graduate and a lifelong New Englander.

The WBUR polling found nearly one in five voters in the cities remain undecided.

The Battle for the Cities

This story was cross-posted to Poll Vault, a data-driven look at the 2014 election produced by WBUR, The MassINC Polling Group, and CommonWealth.