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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. 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."

Jonathan Cohn rounds up the reasons why Democrats should press ahead with reform even if Coakley loses (including a solid "It's a Wonderful Life" reference from Jonathan Chait).

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.

By Ben Pershing  |  January 19, 2010; 3:06 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Health Care , The Rundown  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Former Kennedy aide does the math for a Coakley win
Next: Senate debate on debt limit to begin Wednesday, aide says


The Devil will let Kennedy out of Hell for 5 minutes to watch the concession speech.

Posted by: BO__Stinks | January 19, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

We are zeroing in on Massachusetts today and studying the supply demand curves of all Massachusetts IP.'s. We are seeing what people are searching for around Brown/Coakley and what people are supplying them for answers. We clearly see Brown as winning this race based on search demand and search "results"
We study search demand/supply trends from around the world to find profitable niches and products and the main problem with predictions and "trends" is that no one looks at the "supply" side to these predictions. A niche, or hot predictions, is not just a demand side issue, but a supply/demand curve. If you predict IPHONE apps will take off, and there are already 100,000 aps, then you aren't going to hit that one. If you see that demand for cell phone radiation shields is going nuts and there are only two suppliers, then you can be pretty sure that it will be a good year for those 2 supplies. The software at studies both the demand (search volume) and supply (think "results" in Google). The Google Phone is generating much more buzz right now then say the Apple Tablet.
Here is a video on what I mean..

Posted by: curtdalton | January 19, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Barry the incompetent boob Obama should have stayed home for all the good he did for "Marcia" Coakley.

Now Coakley's defeat becomes Barry's defeat.

Posted by: screwjob11 | January 19, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

My chauffeur, Helmut, is surprised at Mr Brown's strength. He says, "Don' nobody remember alla gut t'ings Kennedy dood?" For sure, a list must be available somewhere.

Posted by: HassanAliAl-Hadoodi | January 19, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

You call 40 percent turnout high, in light all the noise this election has generated? Sterling Greenwood/Aspen Free Press

Posted by: AspenFreePress | January 19, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

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