Nevertheless, some of those insiders privately concede that Menino's vote percentage in the preliminary is likely to be within a few points of 50, in one direction or the other. And while they insist that there is no real difference between 49 and 51 percent, as a predictor of the general election, they acknowledge that perception might be very different.
Certainly, whichever challenger finishes second on September 22 will argue, if Menino falls below 50 percent, that the results prove the incumbent's vulnerability. Menino's camp will dismiss it as meaningless — but rest assured, if Menino tops 50 percent, his campaign will insist that this demonstrates his invincibility. It will then be the challenger trying to brush it aside. It's amazing how a few small points can completely skew one's perspective in politics.
To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
: Talking Politics
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