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Do Groton Voters Lean Liberal? UMass Lowell Professor Says ‘Yes’

Upcoming elections on the national and state levels may reinforce trends during past decade
by Robert Stewart
As one of six communities in the First Middlesex District, Groton is represented in the state house by one of the few Republican House Districts in Massachusetts. For 35 years, the First Middlesex has been represented by Republican Representatives. And yet, according to political experts in polling at UMass Lowell, Groton voters have emerged as being among the most progressive voters in Massachusetts.
     John Cluverius, Associate Director of UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, noted that Groton voters are more affiliated with what he calls the “insurgent left” than many of the rest of voters in Massachusetts. And, this identification with the more progressive issues of the Democratic Party has become more pronounced in the past couple national elections.
     Cluverious notes that in the 2016 Primary Election Groton voters who took a Democratic ballot (an overwhelming majority of voters who participated in the Primary) favored Bernie Sanders over Hilary Clinton by 300 votes.
     Cluverius also notes that in the 2018 Congressional Democratic Primary the results were messier and not as clear because of the extraordinarily large number of candidates. However, he said in an interview with the editor of the Groton Herald that a lot of candidates who were identified as progressive did quite well among Groton voters. According to Cluverius, these voting patterns are all the more remarkable because Groton voters as a demographic group are overwhelmingly white.
     The demographics of Groton voters and the recent history of voting patterns that are identified as progressive make Groton a place where political candidates on the national and state level want to do well. Cluverius said that the Kennedy – Markey Primary race in March will not be a clear indicator of the progressive leanings of voters either in Groton or in Massachusetts.
     He notes that both Kennedy and Markey are considered progressive on the issues and that Markey is more aligned on issues of Climate than Kennedy. And, according to Cluverius, Climate is an issue that Groton voters place near the top of their concerns.
     The Kennedy – Markey race will likely shape up as the Pressley - Capuano Primary race in the Seventh Congressional District in 2018. There were few differences between the Democratic candidates and both were considered progressive. Pressley was younger and appealed to the more diverse demographics of that District. Cluverius notes that in the Kennedy – Markey race, Kennedy is younger and could attract more younger voters to the polls in 2020. On the other hand, Cluverius notes that Markey’s age and strong identification with Climate issues could be enough to keep him in office.
     Cluverius said that older voters like to vote and this U. S. Senate race in the Democratic Primary could be a Primary where the voters are older.
He said the Kennedy – Markey race will be very interesting because, “We don’t know the contours of the race and is there a reason to get rid of Markey?...It’s all unclear to me.”
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