Local Donations Could Have Predicted Mayoral Vote


Sharon Machlis Gartenberg


September 26, 2017

Looking at overall vote totals, there’s a pretty good correlation between number of Framingham-based campaign donors and percentage of vote in tonight’s preliminary election.

In fact, there’s a statistical correlation of 0.99 – and the highest possible number is 1.

This doesn’t mean I believe that the number of donors was the factor responsible for voting results. As the saying goes, “correlation is not causation.” What this does mean is that in this particular instance, knowing the percent of local donors a candidate had could help you predict that candidate’s percent of vote tonight. I’m not ready to conclude there will be a similar correlation in the November 7 general election, though.

Nevertheless, the correlation in this preliminary election was pretty striking:

Methodology. Data come from campaign finance reports filed with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance last week for activity through September 8. I looked at all donors, both cash and “in-kind” goods and services, who reported a Framingham street address. Post office boxes were excluded. If the same person contributed more than once, they were only counted as one donor (assuming their name was listed the same way each time).

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