(The post-mortem begins – promoted by Colorado Pols)
As politicos around the country await the results of the special election in Massachusetts for the Senate seat to replace Democrat Ted Kennedy (and whether Democrats will maintain a 60-seat majority or not), “The Fix” offers its take on what to watch for:
…we talked to a number of senior strategists in both parties in search of the key geographic areas and demographic groups to keep an eye on as results roll in tonight in order to best understand what’s happening and why.
A sampling of their thoughts is below.
* City turnout: Coakley must maximize the power of the city turnout machines in Boston (led by Mayor Tom Menino), Worcester (in the hands of Rep. Jim McGovern) and Springfield. Three close-in communities to Boston report their results early — Cambridge, Somerville and Arlington — and, according to one Democrat, if Brown is close or leading in those areas, the race is effectively over.
* The South Coast: While almost all of the state is reached by Boston television, the communities in hard-scrabble town like Fall River — home of former Boston schoolboy hoops legend Chris Herren — gets Providence television and is culturally a far different place than the Hub. These are the sort of Democrats — blue-collar — that Coakley must win but, as the race entered its final stages, wasn’t winning.
* Independent women: The Brown surge has been fueled — primarily — by independents who have moved strongly in his favor over the past ten days. Democrats acknowledge independent men are a lost cause for Coakley but they are hoping that her historic candidacy — she would be the first woman elected to the Senate or governor in the state — is a significant draw among independent women. The working theory among Democratic modelers is if Coakley can win 35 percent of the independent vote, she can win; if she goes below that number, Brown will win.
* The Beltway Vote: The most critical area for Brown is in between Rt. 128 — the inner Beltway that rings Boston and 495 — the outer Beltway to the west of the city. That area, which includes the critical swing suburban community of Middlesex, is filed with independent and Republican voters that Brown needs energized to offset the likely swamping he will take in Boston proper.
* Boston Catholics: While the city of Boston is strongly Democratic, it is also — in parts — strongly Catholic (and pro-life). In communities like South Boston, Dorchester and the North End, Republicans believe Brown has made significant inroads. Worth noting: In the two most recent Republican victories in Massachusetts (Gov. Mitt Romney in 2002 and Gov. Paul Cellucci in 1998), the Catholic vote went Republican.