Turnout is high in Massachusetts, and so is uncertainty
By Ben Pershing
The polls have been open in Massachusetts for roughly eight hours Tuesday, and media reports from across the spectrum generally agree on two points: Turnout is high, and neither side trusts the other much.
Boston.com reports: "Light snow has not discouraged heavy traffic at polling places as more than 55,000 people cast ballots by noon in Boston, an early turnout more than double that of the primary last month. Other cities and towns experienced similar waves of voters."
The Boston Herald says "Boston Election Department Chairwoman Geraldine Cuddyer ... predicted turnout could be as high as 20 to 30 percent and possibly rival last November's mayoral election, when a little more than 31 percent of the city's voters cast ballots to send Mayor Thomas M. Menino to a historic fifth term."
The Worcester Telegram and Cape Cod Times bear similar tales of Bay Staters braving the elements to cast their ballots at a high rate. "But in some smaller towns, like North Adams, polling stations remained quiet. Turnout also was sparse early at Highlands Elementary School in Braintree, as snow fell rapidly at approximately 8 a.m," WBUR reports.
Eric Fehrnstrom, a top Brown campaign aide, tells National Review "you have to throw out the rulebook" with this race but predicts that if turnout reaches 50 percent, it will be very good for his candidate.
If Brown wins, when will he be seated? William Galvin, the Massachusetts secretary of state, tells WCVB in Boston that he won't stall the swearing-in of Brown if the Republican wins. "I am going to do everything that I can to give the winner, whoever that winner is, the credentials they need as soon as possible," Galvin tells the station. "My reputation precedes me. I'm not going to sacrifice my reputation for any race of any kind."
Marc Ambinder notes, "There are several built-in election procedure traps, including the counting of absentee ballots and ballots from soldiers overseas." He adds: "If a candidate's margin of victory statewide is less than one half of one percent, then the losing candidate has up to TEN days to petition for a recount and 15 days to submit petitions to the Secretary of State."
True/Slant believes Republicans are "setting the stage for the 'we wuz robbed' allegation" in case Coakley pulls out a close win.
In Washington, Steny Hoyer said the Senate health-care bill "clearly is better than nothing," sparking lots of headlines in a Capitol starved for news. The Daily Caller says, "Democrats were coalescing Tuesday around a plan to force the Senate's version of health-care reform through the House" if Brown wins. The Hill observes that Hoyer "has shown more openness to the Senate bill than any other House leader." Politico reports that Hoyer also offered this assessment of the national mood: "We're all pretty unpopular. Why? Because people don't feel good, and we're the leaders and we're in office, and they expect us to do something about it."
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has bad news for Democrats: "In the survey, only 33 percent say President Obama's health-reform effort is a good idea, versus 46 percent who consider it a bad idea. That result is essentially unchanged from last month's poll. However, the number saying that Obama's health plan is a bad idea has increased 20 percentage points since April, when the public supported the reform effort by a 33-26 percent margin." Maybe Wall Street knows something -- MarketWatch notes that health insurer stocks have rallied Tuesday.
January 19, 2010; 3:06 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Election , Health Care , The Rundown
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