Scott Brown’s election in January 2010 was supposed to be the beginning of a Republican wave. Comparing the vote totals between the major party candidates in the special Senate election and yesterday’s gubernatorial race provides some insight.
In total*, Patrick beat Baker by 153,000 votes. Comparing raw vote totals with the Brown-Coakley election, Patrick improved his raw votes by 5% – getting 105% of the votes that Coakley got.
On the other hand, Baker severely underperformed Brown’s raw vote totals, attracting only 82% of Brown’s votes, an almost 200,000 vote difference. If you put Baker and Cahill’s totals together, you are up to 95% of the vote.
Looking at the municipal level shows gives some additional texture:
Patrick outperformed Coakley strongly in two regions– the Southcoast and western Massachusetts– plus Worcester. He also outperformed Coakley in Boston by 8% and in Springfield by 15%.
On the other hand, Baker underperformed Brown by a 1,000 votes or more in the following communities:
Agawam, Arlington, Attleboro, Barnstable, Beverly, Billerica, Boston, Braintree, Bridgewater, Brockton, Canton, Chelmsford, Chicopee, Dartmouth, Dedham, Dracut, East Longmeadow, Fall River, Falmouth, Fitchburg, Framingham, Franklin, Hanover, Haverhill, Holden, Hingham, Leominster, Lowell, Ludlow, Lynn, Mansfield, Marshfield, Medford, Middleborough, Milton, Natick, New Bedford, North Attleborough, Peabody, Pembroke, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Quincy, Rockland, Sandwich, Scituate, Somerville, Springfield, Stoughton, Taunton, Walpole, Waltham, Wareham, Westfield, West Springfield, Weymouth, Woburn, Worcester, Wrentham, Yarmouth
Several of those are big cities and not a surprise – Boston, Springfield, Worcester, New Bedford, etc. A handful of the South Shore communities – Quincy, Weymouth – are Cahill’s home base and again are to be expected. But the widespread 1000+ vote losses in large towns and small cities adds up quickly – the communities on the list above represent a 105,000 vote swing between Brown and Baker.
So, what do we learn:
1) In a three-way race, Patrick was able to improve on Coakley’s vote count. Democratic GOTV worked well.
2) Big swathes (roughly 1 out of 5 or 6) of Brown voters did not vote for Baker, suggesting that Republican GOTV did not work well.
3) Cahill appeared to hurt Baker more than Patrick (relative to the Brown-Coakley vote totals), particularly due to Cahill’s home base. Quincy and Weymouth alone accounted for a 10,000 vote swing from Brown to Baker. Patrick got 100% of Coakley’s vote in Weymouth and 95% in Quincy.
4) Lost in the media circus around Scott Brown is that fact that he only won by 5% or 110,000 votes. Leaving 1000+ votes on the table in each of the above communities (or 105,000 in total) quickly erodes that total.
See anything else? I invite your comments.
* I’m working off of the boston.com’s latest numbers, which are still missing some significant communities (Longmeadow, Norwood, etc.) but reflect 2120 out of 2168 precincts in the state.