The Election by the Numbers: Cities and Towns to Watch

(I’ll offer some of the cities and towns that I’m watching. If anybody has some raw numbers, please consider this an open thread. I’m looking for historic vote totals in some of the mill cities like New Bedford and Fall River.)


These five cities and towns have been some of the best bellweathers in Massachusetts. As they go, the state usually follows.

2002: Romney won 50 to 45

2008: Obama won 62 to 36

1. Gloucester:

Romney: 49 to 45

Obama: 65 to 33

2. Hull:

Romney: 49 to 45

Obama: 60 to 38

3. Maynard:

Romney: 49 to 45

Obama: 63 to 35

4. Waltham:

Romney: 51 to 43

Obama: 63 to 35

5. Winthrop:

Romney: 50 to 45

Obama: 59 to 40  


Looking at the margins and turnout in key mid-sized cities that broke for Romney in 2002. I know there are others, but each city listed has a minimum population of 30,000 and represents a diverse region.

1. Braintree, population 34,442 (South Shore)

The South Shore is important for Brown. Quincy, may be tough for him. But Braintree is the real fault line between Boston and the South Shore.

Romney: 55% with 8,073  

O’Brien: 42% with 6,130

Patrick: 6,356

Healey: 6,289

Obama: 50% with 9,298

McCain: 48% with 8,964

2. Falmouth, population 33,247, (Cape Cod)

The Cape is also important for Brown, especially the more densely populated western half. Brown should do well in the region, but Falmouth is the biggest battleground in the region and a major prize.

Romney: 51% with 7,642  

O’Brien  44% with 6,490

Patrick: 7,875

Healey: 5,814

Obama: 60% with 11,725

McCain: 39% with 7,503

3. Haverhill, population 59,902, (Merrimac Valley)

Haverhill is the second largest city carried by Romney. It will be interesting to watch if the anti-tax and anti-Beacon Hill sentiments along the NH border translates into votes for Brown. Brown should do well in the region, but a strong showing in Haverhill will be evidence of a Brown tide.

Romney: 56% with 9,680

O’Brien: 39% with 6,836

Patrick: 8,930

Healey: 7,173

Obama: 58% with 15,552

McCain: 40% with 10,814

4. Framingham, population 64,768, (Metro West)

The largest city to break for Romney. Brown needs to carry some vote rich mid-sized cities outside of the South Shore and Upper Cape. A surge in Framingham would be a great sign.

Romney: 51% with 10,868  

O’Brien: 44% with 9,225

Patrick: 11,076

Healey: 6,718

Obama: 67% with 17,839

McCain: 32% with 8,464

5. Westfield, population 40,160, (Western Mass)

Although Western Mass is Coakley country, there are some battlegrounds out there. I’m not watching Western Mass too much, but Westfield may be a city worth watching.

Romney: 54% with 7,050

O’Brien: 42% with 5,447

Patrick: 6,135

Healey: 4,891

Obama: 53% with 9,304

McCain: 45% with 7,762

6. Peabody, population 51,441, (North Shore)

Peabody may be one of the largest and most important battlegrounds on the North Shore. Early polls show Brown doing well. Lets hope he breaks 11,000 votes there.

Romney: 53% with 10,520

O’Brien: 43% with 8,397

Patrick: 10,003

Healey: 7,989

Obama: 57% with 14,818

McCain: 42% with 10,800

7. Fitchburg, population 39,835, (Central Mass)  

Fitchburg is a true battleground city. Although Romney won the state by five, he squeaked out a three point win in Fitchburg. Its a good Central Mass bellwether.

Romney: 49% with 5,061

O’Brien: 46% with 4,655

Patrick: 5,766

Healey: 3,421

Obama: 60% with 8596

McCain: 38% with 5,378

8. Waltham, population 59,798, (Metro West)

Like Braintree tothe south of Boston, Waltham represents a fault line between Greater Boston and Metro-West. Its an important bellwhether and battleground. Worth watching closely.

Romney: 51% with 8742

O’Brien: 43% with 7523

Patrick: 9,082

Healey: 5,955

Obama: 63% with 15,265

McCain: 35% with 8,383

9.  Plymouth, Population 55,188, (South Shore)  

Brown should crush Plymouth. It is worth watching the margins and turnout of some of the larger towns and cities on the South Shore. Plymouth should be vote rich for Brown. Romney scored over 11,000 and McCain over 13,000.  

Romney: 58% with 11,025

O’Brien: 37% with 6,888

Patrick: 10,000

Healey: 8,623

Obama: 53% with 15,180

McCain: 46% with 13,139

10. Attleboro, population 43,113, (Blackstone Valley)

Attleboro may also be considered part of the South Shore. But being located along the Rhode Island border it is also a bellwhether for the Blackstone Valley, one of the few GOP belts in the state. Brown should max out this Red corridor.

Romney: 59% with 6,835

O’Brien: 37% with 4,297

Patrick: 6,339

Healey: 5,487

Obama: 56% with 10,523

McCain: 42% with 8,003


Obama won the state 62 to 36. McCain only won a small fraction of cities and towns and most of them have small populations. Brown should crush Coakley in the following cities and towns:







East Bridgefield

East Brookfield
















North Brookfield

North Reading





















Obviously, Brown will need low turnout in the major cities. Of the Bay State’s top ten largest cities, Quincy and Lowell may be the most competitive. If Brown can stay competitive in Quincy or Lowell, its a sign that Coakley is in trouble. The Bay State’s ten largest cities:

1 Boston – 599,351

2 Worcester – 173,966  

3 Springfield – 149,938  

4 Lowell – 103,512    

5 Cambridge – 101,388  

6 Brockton – 93,092    

7 New Bedford – 91,849  

8 Quincy – 91,622    

9 Fall River – 90,905  

10 Lynn – 87,122  

Anybody got anything to add?

About swamp_yankee

  • MerrimackMan

    Combining the Results of the last four majors elections in the state: the Epic 2002 Gubernatorial Race, the 2004 Presidential race, the 2006 Gubernatorial race, and the 2008 Disaster.

    On the first sheet, I listed from the Most Liberal (Negative) to the Most Conservative (Positive) each City or Town was. This was done on the basis of how much that City/Town differed from the State Average in each of the last four elections, and the number was then averaged. I also provided the Standard Deviation to give an idea of how consistently Liberal or Conservative that City or Town was. The lower the value, the more consistent they were.

    The Second sheet lists each City/Town Alphabetically and gives the difference in result in that town for each election, so you can see how that average came to be.

    I also listed the bellwethers and consistent voters for reference tonight.

    Not Surprisingly I found

    Aquinnah- Most Liberal

    Boxford- Most Conservative

  • Karl Marx

    It is excellent.

    Right now the city of Boston isn’t turning out big for Martha. I wonder why. Obama’s plea is going unanswered in the minority wards.