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What to Look For in the Massachusetts Special Election

by: Inoljt

Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 1:03 AM EST


By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Results are soon pending in the special election to replace Senator Ted Kennedy. Once a guaranteed Democratic victory, the race has become surprisingly competitive due to a bad national environment and a lackluster campaign run by Democrat Martha Coakley. In fact, several polls have put Republican Scott Brown in the lead, striking panic amongst the Democratic establishment.

Interpreting incomplete results can be difficult if one is not familiar with how different areas in a state vote. Senator John McCain, for instance, led the vote in Virginia during much of election night; this was because deep-red rural Virginia reported first. After Democratic strongholds in Northern Virginia began posting, Barack Obama quickly pulled away (he ultimately won by 6.30%). Because Massachusetts is rarely competitive outside of gubernatorial elections, geographic unfamiliarity probably extends to even most politically active folk.

I have therefore created a map indicating what a tied election would probably look like:Photobucket

More below.

Inoljt :: What to Look For in the Massachusetts Special Election
Interpreting incomplete results can be difficult if one is not familiar with how different areas in a state vote. Senator John McCain, for instance, led the vote in Virginia during much of election night; this was because deep-red rural Virginia reported first. After Democratic strongholds in Northern Virginia began posting, Barack Obama quickly pulled away (he ultimately won by 6.30%). Because Massachusetts is rarely competitive outside of gubernatorial elections, geographic unfamiliarity probably extends to even most politically active folk.

This map takes data from all statewide elections since 2004, derives the electoral lean of each county, and then averages these results to produce the picture. Here is the data by county:

Photobucket

Ironically, Republicans do better in the most populous counties - the opposite case for the nation in general. Republicans are strongest in the state's suburbs; Scott Brown will need to win all of them to take the state (on the other hand, these wins need not be exceptionally large). On the other hand, Democrats do best in the city Boston and the more rural western reaches of the state.

Thus on election day when the results start coming in, take a look at the above table and compare it to the actual performances each candidate is posting. Whichever candidate is generally outperforming the table will likely win the election. Finally, look at who is winning Hampden and Bristol counties - the two places that vote closest to the state as a whole. If Martha Coakley is winning them, expect a Democratic victory. If Scott Brown is, then a Republican shocker is in the works. If the two are split, it will a nail-biter that goes deep into the night. There have been not many of those lately.

Whatever the case, tomorrow Tuesday ought be an exciting day for politics buffs. There are not many races where the result has been so uncertain - where practically anything can happen and it would not be surprising for the polls to be completely off. It will be quite interesting to watch.

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In Mass, towns are a better indicator than counties
Counties are too politically heterogeneous. Look at Norfolk County: Jewish, ultra-liberal Brookline and Sharon have few political trends in common with blue-collar towns like Braintree or Brown's hometown of Wrentham. I agree that we should watch the suburbs because they might be swingy. Look at places like Chelmsford, Canton, Stoughton, and other semi-swingy suburbs of Boston. And also look how far ahead Coakley is in Democratic strongholds like Boston, Fall River, and Cambridge.

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


Blue Mass Group had a good diary on this
http://www.bluemassgroup.com/d...

Like sapelcovits said, the Counties are pretty much useless, since there is no County BoE, everything is done at the town level.  The Boston Globe (boston.com) usually gives town by town results as they come in.

28, Unenrolled, MA-08


I really think Martha can pull this off
There has been an absolute flood of volunteers come in and there are close to 200 phonebanks across the state each making thousands of calls a day from Martha. Brown's supporters may be enthused but dems out number then by thousand and thousand and thousands. You can phone bank from anywhere in the county or in the world. Go to the website or call the campaign. There are thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of loyal democrats who don't even know about this election. Massachusetts has not had a republican senator since the 70s. This did not happen by accident. We can make this happen!

I hope so
A lot of the people that I called just seemed annoyed and harrased,and many do not plan on voting, and I got some who did not know about the election, and one guy said he was a redsox's fan and hung up on me. How she got the nomination is beyond me. I have had a lot of good replies as well but I think the dem base in Mass seems to be a little lazy. I just hope they prove me wrong.

Proud member of the Indiana Democratic Party from IN-9.  

[ Parent ]
Alot of people
 I spoke to said they were voting for Coakley and one person was involved in a phonebank for her. A few people said they were already contacted. No one has mentioned the Schilling endorsement (which makes me want to support Coakley more, I am a Yankee fan.) I think the base is excited so we should pull this thing off.

for more election analysis, visit  http://frogandturtle.blogspot....




17, CA-06,  


[ Parent ]
I hope so
I really hope you are right, and I did talk to many people who sounded excited as well, however I just do not see as how this could be so close, I suppose it is just that Coakley is a horrible canidate, but if a teabagger can pull off a win in Mass, then what is stopping them from doing it in Indiana? I really do not want Mike Sodrel as my Congressman again!  

Proud member of the Indiana Democratic Party from IN-9.  

[ Parent ]
There's not
if a teabagger can win in Massachusetts, they can win anywhere...the Democratic party will have to adjust their campaigns accordingly, to the determent of liberals everywhere.

Yes, Brown winning will move the party to the right, they have to, 20% of Democrats to Brown?!? I don't care what Jane Hamsher says, they're not voting Brown to get single payer healthcare.  


[ Parent ]
The question is...
... are 20% of Democrats actually going to vote for Brown?  That seems a questionable assumption to me.

Male, 23, DC-At Large

[ Parent ]
I don't think so
but if they do, then I give up. It would be a certain sign people are rejecting what I believe in.

[ Parent ]
Curt Schilling
No one really cares about his endorsement, it's kind of understood that he's a right-winger and so the many of us who are both Democrats and Sox fans just kind of ignore his political forays.

...and honestly, being a Yankees fan is almost as bad as being a Republican.

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


[ Parent ]
Schilling endorsed McCain, didn't help
although if you remember, very early polls showed the Obama/McCain race competitive in Massachusetts.

I can't help but feel the state is beginning to move away from it's liberal history.  


[ Parent ]
Some very early polling showed Mississippi and Alabama as being competitive
For all the Democrats (including Obama). It's also worth pointing out that I'd seen early polling showing New York competitive for both Clinton and Obama. Massachusetts is every bit as Democratic as it has been, Coakley has just been a horrendous candidate.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!


[ Parent ]
Democratic maybe
progressive/liberal, not really

[ Parent ]
Ok...
A Republican once won in the northern New Mexico district in a special election in 1998. Assuming Brown wins, we'll take back the seat in 2012 (with a not incompetent candidate).

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!


[ Parent ]
The point I was making
Was that that district is, by far, the most liberal of the three NM districts. Special elections make for crazy outcomes, especially when one of the candidates sucks.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!


[ Parent ]
In fairness, part of the reason that
   Bill Redmond (the GOP Rep from NM-03 for awhile) won was because there was a Green candidate who took around 10% of the vote. I don't think that anyone thinks that "placebo Joe Kennedy" will do that well. I am not from MA (though my mom grew up there) but I think that a lot of people forget that it is a state with a lot of independents and not just Ds and Rs. Brownie is probably doing well with the indys and not so much with the Dems. The key to the election is who turns out. I make no predictions but have my fingers crossed (though I don't think I would have voted for Coakley in the primary). Sometimes you go to the campaign with the candidate you have, not the one you want...

52, male, disgruntled Democrat, CA-28

[ Parent ]
Here in RI
the younger generation (aka future voters) are as liberal as ever, and I'm sure that's true of Mass too, especially since a lot of young people find Boston an attractive place to live. Liberalism is still alive and well in the Bay State.

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


[ Parent ]
I have my doubts about that
especially seeing as young voters appear to be moving en masse to Brown.  

[ Parent ]
I'm 19
I feel like if there were some huge rightward shift among younger voters I would be noticing it...but I haven't, not even a little.

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


[ Parent ]
yeah but you're not in Mass.
although to be honest, I've noticed somewhat of a right wing shift among my friends in their 20's.  

[ Parent ]
Whats
funny for a person like me who's an unapologetic liberal, a good number of my close friends are conservatives.  

19, Male, Independent, CA-12

[ Parent ]
yeah I have conservative friends too
and they were fairly easy to talk to...until this past year.  

[ Parent ]
I know the feeling
I only have a couple of liberal friends. I think it is because I tend to love a good fight regarding politics. My teabaging friends (yes I call them that to there face) love to press my buttons.

Proud member of the Indiana Democratic Party from IN-9.  

[ Parent ]
It's not even that
a good friend of mine, her and I were the left/right team on my college radio station 10 years ago, throughout our friendship, she and I would respectfully debate, but always feel strong friendship.

When Obama came to power, she just lost it. We can't even talk about politics anymore.  


[ Parent ]
I live 15 minutes from Mass
and have my fair share of Masshole (affectionate term ;))friends.

21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami." http://www.redcross.org/


[ Parent ]
Yeah
I am a socks fan and I really thought the comment was more funny than anything else.

Proud member of the Indiana Democratic Party from IN-9.  

[ Parent ]
Read Nate Silver's article "A statistical ray of hope for Coakley"
Keep phone banking people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UGH
Gonna wait until we see the PPP numbers before I get too freaked out.

Male, 23, DC-At Large

[ Parent ]
That poll is BS its a copy of the pajamas media poll


[ Parent ]
I hope
that PPP has also polled those who've already voted absentee. It will be interesting to see those numbers.  

19, Male, Independent, CA-12

[ Parent ]
This pollster
trend line scares me:

http://www.pollster.com/blogs/...

But for those lazy to click on the link here it is:

Brown: 51.2%
Coakley 42.6%


19, Male, Independent, CA-12

It scares me too
Although I do remember a similar trend line opening up one Douglas L. Hoffman.

Male, 23, DC-At Large

[ Parent ]
*for one


Male, 23, DC-At Large

[ Parent ]
Remove the pajamas media and medford poll and ur fine with the trend line


[ Parent ]
Prepare to cry guys
Scott Brown is leading Coakley 51-46 according to PPP

http://publicpolicypolling.blo...

19, Male, Independent, CA-12



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