Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tough Massachusetts Race Comes to a Close

Welcome back to WAYLA for our coverage of today’s special election in Massachusetts. Polls have closed and our eye is glued to the results as they slowly come.

The Bay State saw huge turnout today - which may be of greater benefit to Republican Scott Brown than Democrat Martha Coakley.

Early returns show Brown ahead 53% to 46%, according to CNN - but that’s only with 13% of the vote in. Obviously many precincts, especially those in central and south Boston (which should be a little more supportive of Coakley) will be coming later in the night.

CNN is also reporting that Democrats are as upset with their party’s slow progress on healthcare as Republicans are upset with how far the bill has come. These are certainly signs that are no surprise to us.

Many pundits across the networks are predicting a Brown win tonight.

One interesting point is how Massachusetts independents have swung for Brown. Public Policy Polling finds that while independents voted 45% - 44% for Obama in 2008, they voted 64% - 32% for Brown today.

They also found that the enthusiasm gap for Brown over Coakley was high.

More to come…


UPDATE 1: It's difficult to say anything for sure at this point, but a notable trend has appeared in the reporting precincts. In the majority of towns and cities that are currently going for Coakley, she leads by less than 3%. Meanwhile, the majority of the towns and cities going for Brown show him ahead by 10% to 20%.

More to come around 8:30pm (CST).


UPDATE 2: It appears to be over, as Coakley conceded to Brown about a half hour ago. With 88% of precincts reporting, Brown holds a steady 52% - 47% lead over Coakley. While she won solid victories in places like Boston, Cambridge, and the surrounding area - as well as western towns like Northhampton and North Adams - she lost by 20 to 30 point margins in about half the state.


Apparently the Coakley campaign is blaming DC Democrats, saying the DNC and DSCC failed to provide sufficient funds (despite the polling information they were provided) until it was too late.

Still, Democrats on the ground in Massachusetts are saying that Coakley had simply expected victory and didn't take her Republican opponent seriously. As a result, she abstained from campaigning during a long period in December and never really tapped in to the populist, anti-incumbent feelings of voters.

Once again, Democratic candidates must remember that campaigning still matters.

With that we'll leave it there and give you our final thoughts tomorrow.