The Cahill Thing

Just a few thoughts about the Tim Cahill thing, while waiting for the Globe poll on the race expected in tomorrow's paper....

From my understanding, what happened this week with the departure of top staff wasn't so much a change in the operation of the campaign, as a public airing of the change in the operation of the campaign that had already been happening -- which is the shifting of power from the outside, national people to the inside, long-time Cahill people. Other than the obvious interruption of a bunch of off-message media inquiries, I'm not sure it hurt the campaign much. However, it does mean that the campaign is probably one bad sign away from being given up for dead by the media, and getting relegated to the sidelines. (Single digits in the Globe poll could be such a sign.)

But I get no sense, at all, that Cahill is even considering ending the campaign. And, as I've said before, any possibility of that happening probably went out the window long ago -- his departure from the race is assumed to help Baker, and I don't think Cahill is in any mood at all to do anything nice for Charlie Baker.

Which leads me to a final important thought. It is generally assumed that Cahill's base of support -- the 15% or so who currently say they would vote for him -- will dwindle at the end, as those voters decide to switch to one of the two "viable" candidates. And, it is generally assumed that the great bulk of those voters started out as anti-incumbent votes, and thus are likely to switch to Baker when the time comes.

But discussions with some folks who have seen more polling data than I have suggests that those Cahill voters are now closer to 50-50 between Baker and Deval Patrick as their 2nd choice, meaning that Baker would not make any significant gains from a Cahill collapse.

And it is suggested that the reason for this is that Cahill supporters have come to deeply resent Baker's ceaseless and vicious ill-treatment of their guy -- so much so, that it is trumping their dislike of Patrick.

All of that is more speculation than fact right now, but worth considering.

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