A poll conducted by the Merriman River Group on behalf of OIB four weeks before the primary showed Mayor Bill Finch with a six-point lead over opponent Mary-Jane Foster, 40-34 with more than 20 percent undecided. On Tuesday Finch won the primary machine total within the poll’s margin of error.
Finch operatives protested the OIB poll (Lennie, you’re sniffing glue!) claiming their projections had Finch winning by 2 to 1. That didn’t happen. They also claimed Foster would be hard pressed to hit 3000 votes. In fact, she almost got to 4000 votes. The machine totals of Tuesday’s primary reflect Foster was competitive in several areas of the city, from Black Rock, to Brooklawn, to the South End to portions of the East Side such as Beardsley School, Finch’s home precinct which he won by just 5 votes.
The Finch operation, however, ran up large wins at Central District 133 (the home district of City Council President Tom McCarthy), Longfellow School in the West End and portions of the North End and East Side. The Finch operation did a nice job identifying its vote and yanking them out. They miscalculated the turnout for Foster.
Finch’s spread was made larger by a formidable absentee ballot operation that cannot be measured in a poll.