Massachusetts is the most partisan Democratic state in the country. Democrats control over 85% of the state legislature’s seats and have enjoyed a stranglehold on every one of the state’s ten Congressional districts for more than a decade.
So how did Scott Brown win the election? His populist appeal cut deeply into the heart of blue-collar Democratic areas. He won the city of Quincy, a Democratic stronghold, by seven points — larger than his statewide margin. Fall River, one of the most Democratic areas in the state, gave him 43% of its vote.
There was a clear pattern involved in Mr. Brown’s gains. So-called granola liberal communities, such as Cambridge and Provincetown, which have high numbers of post-graduate degree holders, stuck with Democrat Martha Coakley. Mr. Brown did well in more middle-class areas, especially those chock full of families with children.
He also exploded the myth that a Republican could only win in a low-turnout election. A total of 2.25 million people went to the polls yesterday, not far below the three million who voted in the 2008 presidential election. The Democratic base turned out, giving Ms. Coakley larger than expected margins in cities like Boston. But she was overwhelmed by Mr. Brown’s legion of frustrated and concerned voters in the suburbs and smaller cities.
Democrats who claim health care wasn’t an important issue in the race are denying reality. A Rasmussen survey of people who voted yesterday found that 52% of Brown voters said health care was their Number One issue, with almost four out of five saying they strongly opposed the health care bill before Congress. The intensity of the feelings against the bill were such that on the campaign trail Mr. Brown was frequently asked to sign his autograph: “Scott Brown 41” — signifying the 41st and decisive vote to kill the bill in the Senate.
‘John Fund is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal’