I have spent far too much time staring at the 2010 Special Election Results. Now I have a much more enjoyable page to look at: the 2012 Senate election results. These are almost, but not quite, done. They’re close enough to shed some light on how Elizabeth Warren won this race. Lots of numbers (many of them approximative).
I know Elizabeth Warren won this race by being a great candidate with a great program, and by inspiring an army of eager volunteers like me and many of you. But I always find it instructive to look at how a candidate won, in terms of turnout and margins in key parts of the state.
First, Boston came up big. She took 74.2% in Boston vs. 69.4 for Coakley. Much more importantly, turnout was up significantly. 96,000 more votes were cast in this Senate race in Boston than in 2010, a 63% increase. Turnout in Boston in 2010 was under 43%; yesterday it was almost 60%. As a result, Warren’s margin of victory in Boston was more than doubled Coakley’s. Coakley won the city by almost 59,000 votes; Warren by almost 120,000. Net gain 61,000 votes.
Turnout heavy in other Dem strongholds.
- In Cambridge, Warren captured 84% of the vote, identical to Coakley’s showing. But there were 50% more votes cast in Cambridge this time than in 2010, and thus a corresponding 50% increase in the margin of victory there, from 22,000 votes to 33,000 votes. Net gain 11,000 votes.
- In Somerville, turnout was up 54% over 2010. Warren’s percentage was a little better as well, so her margin of victory there was almost 9,000 votes higher than Coakley’s, or almost doubled.
- In Brookline, very similar 3-1 margin compared to 2010. But turnout up by over 30%. Warren took the town by 13,000 votes; Coakley by only 10,000.
- Likewise Newton, very similar 2-1 margin compared to 2010. But 10,000 more votes cast. Warren took the city by 14,000 votes, Coakley by only 12,000.
Ran better in Dem strongholds around the state:
- Warren beat Coakley’s percentages in New Bedford (70% vs. 60%) and Fall River (68% vs. 58%). And turnout was WAY up in both South Coast cities. Up 68% in NB, 64% in FR. That meant Warren won New Bedford by 13,000 votes (Coakley won it by 4,000), and Warren won Fall River by almost 10,000 votes (Coakley won by less than 3,000). Plus 16,000 net votes in those two cities alone, compared to 2010.
- In Fitchburg, turnout was more than double. In 2010 Brown won 59-40 here. Last night Warren won 56-44, a huge swing. Coakley was -200 votes, Warren +1800.
- In the city of Worcester Scott Brown lost by only 52-47 in 2010. Two weeks ago he told the Lowell Sun he hoped to carry Worcester. Yesterday he lost in Worcester 62-38, a ten-point swing to Warren. Even better, turnout was up over 50% there, giving Warren a margin of victory well over 16,000 votes. Coakley took Worcester by fewer than 2,000 votes. A big, big change.
- In Springfield, a huge 89% increase in turnout and a better percentage (74% vs. 62%) gave Warren a victory by more than 25,000 votes. Coakley took Springfield by fewer than 7,000 votes.
- Turnout up over 60% in Lynn, and a better margin (74% vs. 62%), led to a win by almost 10,000 votes. Coakley took Lynn by barely 1,000 votes.
- Turnout more than doubled in Lawrence and Warren won 79% there compared to Coakley’s 66%. A win by almost 13,000 votes vs. Coakley’s win by 3,000 votes.
- Finally, in the great city of Lowell, which Scott Brown won 52-47 in 2010, Warren won 59-41. Turnout was up by way more than 50% over last time, and she won by almost 6,000 votes in a city Coakley lost by 1,000.
In a regular November election in a presidential year, turnout was up in Brown strongholds too, but nowhere near as much as in the Dem cities.
Slight improvement in many towns:
- Looking at the percentages, Warren did about the same as Coakley in many towns. In as many or more towns, she did a few points better. This occurred most often in Brown’s strongholds.
- For example, Warren did much better than Coakley in Bristol County, actually winning Taunton, Swansea, Somerset, Acushnet, Fair Haven, Dartmouth and Westport, some of them handily. All of those towns went pretty solid for Brown in 2010. She also won in Falmouth and Brewster, 51-49 in each. They each went 53-47 Brown last time. So a four-point bump in each.
- Warren won 56-44 in Waltham, another place where turnout was up by almost half. She won by almost 3,000 votes in a city Coakley lost by 23 votes.
That’s the formula, folks.
1. Get out the Democratic vote in the urban areas, liberal suburbs like Newton and Lexington, and the great blue yonder in Western Mass.
2. Run just a bit more competitive in more conservative suburbs and Central Mass. towns. Scott Brown still won plenty of towns but if we get our voters out it doesn’t matter.