A Suffolk University Poll on November 11 showed the following numbers:
Martha 44%, Pags = Jobs 17%, Cappy 16%, K-Z 3%, Und. 20%
Senator Scott Brown 45%, Jack E. 7%, Und. 48%
The actual primary results showed something a bit different.
Martha 47%, Pags = Jobs 12%, Cappy 28%, K-Z 13%
Senator Scott Brown 89%, Jack E. 11%
The turnout numbers in a normal election are very different from the turnout numbers in a special election. Special elections have significantly lower turnout that is mostly driven by the campaigns. The people who choose to vote are the ones most interested in, and most educated about, the election. Because of the higher level of interest and education these voters are more easily effected by grass roots direct contact and less so by mass media and big money.
On the Democrat side, Pagliuca was in second place in the overall poll beating Khazei by a nearly 6 to 1 margin. Pagliuca spent tons of money on mass media while the little known Khazei spent virtually none gaining most of his support in his ground game. When the votes were finally tallied Khazei finished narrowly ahead of Pagliuca.
The other out performer was Capuano. He had more organizational support from his fellow congressmen and the unions. His turnout operation allowed him to significantly close the overall gap with Coakley when the votes were cast.
On the Republican side, Jack E. Robinson bought radio ads and had an aggressive direct mail campaign. Scott Brown spent virtually no money on media while volunteers spent time doing phone banks. Brown won a landslide victory that exceeded even the polls. On both sides of the isle, the ground game defeated the air game with tremendous success.
MORE BELOW THE FOLD….
Special elections are not played the same way as regular elections. The name of the game is TURNOUT! YankeePundit discussed this in more detail on another thread.
Take a look at some of these turnout numbers for Scott Brown in the Primary:
Fall River 457
Yes, the larger cities are Democratic strongholds. However, it is very unusual for any candidate to have more votes from Barnstable than Springfield, Fall River, Somerville and Cambridge combined. These abnormalities are a direct result of where the Brown campaign was able to drive out votes. Barnstable is not in Scott Brown’s district.
Comparisons to Ogonowski:
There are some interesting parallel’s between Scott Brown’s US Senate campaign and Jim Ogonowski’s congressional campaign 2 years ago. Both are open seats and special elections. Both have a unified Republican Party. Brown and Ogonoski both received exactly 89% of the vote in their primaries. The Democrat nominees each received under 50% of the vote and both are women.
Both had 3rd party candidates with minimal support. The 2007 candidates included Constitution Party candidate Kevin Thompson, Independent turned Republican Kurt Hayes, and Independent Patrick Murphy. They combined for around 4% of the vote and I believe these candidates hurt Jim Ogonowski’s chances. In 2009 an independent (but really Libertarian) named Joe Kennedy is on the ballot. His impact on the race has yet to be determined.
In the 2007 MA-5 special the Democrat primary had 55,517 votes cast versus 13,493 in the Republican primary for a 4.11 to 1 ratio of ballots cast. In the 2009 US Senate race the Democrat primary had 664,795 votes cast versus 162,706 in the Republican primary for a 4.08 to 1 ratio of ballots cast. Those numbers are similar.
The primary turnout in the US Senate primary was 11.99 times the turnout of the 2007 congressional primary. In 2007, 105,883 people voted in the general. If the general election turnout is also 12 times as large 1,268,938 will vote and 634,469 vote will be a majority. There are 490,269 registered Republicans in Massachusetts. At just 31%, Jeff Beatty received 922,727 votes in 2008.
Ultimately Niki Tsongas defeated Jim Ogonowski 51% to 45%. Her margin of victory was slightly smaller than polling indicated.