Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Western Mass. Primary turnout low; poll finds Obama leads in Bay State


The Republican presidential primaries may draw people to the polls in many cities throughout the country, but in Amherst, voting turnout on Super Tuesday was slim.

By 2 p.m. yesterday, only about 100 voters in precincts four, five and 10 had arrived at the Bangs Center downtown, host to this year’s Massachusetts primaries.

The halls of the Bangs Center were fairly empty, except for the occasional voter drifting in. There were three precincts in three rooms with voting officials sitting, reading books and awaiting the arrival of voters.

Jim Walker, the warden for precinct 10, attributed the limited turnout to a highly Democratic population.

“There are very few voters so far today,” said Walker. “And the main reason the numbers are so small is that in the Democratic Party, there’s only [President Barack] Obama, and there is a large number of Democrats in Amherst, so most of them are not coming in.”

Among the small number of voters, Amherst resident and Democrat Dorothy McCaffrey came to the Bangs Center and voted, even though President Obama was running unopposed.

“I wasn’t going to [vote], because I figured my vote wasn’t going to count,” she said. “I’m a Democrat, and it isn’t really going to make any difference, there’s only one person on the ballot … Then I thought to myself, ‘I should go and vote, because I always do.’”

Citizens registered to any party and independents could vote in yesterday’s primary. However, voters were required to select their ballot by color – blue for Democrats, red for Republicans and green for independents.

Adrienne Terrizzi, another volunteer working at the polls, said voter motivation, or lack thereof, determined the turnout this Super Tuesday.

“I think people aren’t feeling motivated to come out and vote for a very slim slate,” said Terrizzi. “I think the more motivated people are coming out, so that means Independents and Republicans.”

In Amherst, there are 16,009 registered voters, 8,041 of whom are Democrats and 850 of whom are Republicans, according to The Commonwealth of Massachusetts enrollment breakdown, as of Feb. 15.

In other cities statewide, voter turnout was projected to be slim, as well.

Springfield Election Commissioner Gladys Oyola anticipated a voter turnout of less than 10 percent in Western Massachusetts’ largest, as reported by on Monday.

According to the Massachusetts Enrollment Breakdown posted on Mass.Gov, there are 7,591 registered Republicans in Springfield and 45,961 registered Democrats, out of 87,333 voters in total. Northampton and Holyoke were expecting 20 percent or less of the electorate to pass through polling stations for Tuesday’s primaries, again according to MassLive.

Western New England University Polling Institute, partnered with The Republican and MassLive, administered a state-wide survey to 527 registered voters between Feb. 23 and March 1 with a margin of error of 4.3 percent. The poll found that Barack Obama holds a significant lead in Massachusetts, with former Bay State Governor Mitt Romney trailing at second in a general election survey. According to the results of the poll, Obama would receive 60 percent of the vote here, with Romney taking 36 percent. Obama leads former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in a head-to-head matchup handily. In such a situation, the incumbent would earn 66 percent of the vote, compared to the senator’s 27 percent.

The incumbent president has support from 23 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of independents in Massachusetts, according to the WNEU and MassLive poll. Men favor Obama over Santorum at 61 percent to 31 percent, whereas women in the poll favor Obama over Santorum 70 percent to 24 percent.

Steffi Porter can be reached at [email protected]. Nancy Pierce can be reached at [email protected].

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