Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Happened to the Scott Brown Vote in Massachusetts?

Was it just this past January that Republican Scott Brown beat Democrat Martha Coakley in the U.S. Senate race?

We wondered how Scott's majority voted on November 2. There were no Republican winners in any of the major races across Massachusetts. Did they just disappear?

Here are the results from January:

1,168,107Scott Brown (R)
1,058,682Martha Coakley (D)
22,237Joe Kennedy (I)

In the Governor's race, 38,000 more people showed up to vote but that about equalled the Green Party vote for Jill Stein. A lot of Scott Brown voters went for independent candidate Tim Cahill rather than Republican candidate Charlie Baker. And maybe 40,000 to 50,000 Scott Brown voters went for Democrat Deval Patrick:

1,108,028Deval Patrick (D)
962,671Charlie Baker (R)
183,892Tim Cahill (I)
32,816Jill Stein (G)

In the Treasurer's race, Democrat Steve Grossman picked up 145,000 Scott Brown voters:

1,203,647Steve Grossman (R)
986,768Karen Polito (D)

By contrast, in the Auditor's race, there was a big drop off in total votes, but the winner Democrat Suzanne Bump didn't get much bump from Scott Brown voters:

1,015,616Suzanne Bump (D)
976,014Mary Connaughton (R)
108,333Nat Fortune (G)

But a big beneficiary of Scott Brown voters in November was none other than Martha Coakley herself. She picked up around 354,000 Scott Brown voters in her reelection race for State Attorney General (no hard feelings?):

1,412,959Martha Coakley (D)
837,616Jim McKenna (R)

An even bigger beneficiary was Democrat William Galvin who picked up 357,000 in the Secretary of State race:

1,416,166Bill Galvin (D)
718,138Bill Campbell (R)
60,948Jim Henderson (I)

Most of these Scott Brown voters who switched to Democrats and other candidates in November are independents, and the mind of a independent voter is a curious thing. And if it doesn't make sense to the political parties or outside observers, it does make sense to the independent voter.

What is the lessen here? If you want to keep the independent vote, you have to win it all over again in every election, in every race. Take it for granted, and it's gone.

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