Turnout was reported to be heavy Tuesday as Massachusetts voters trudged through a light snow to choose their next U.S. senator.
Late internal polling by the campaigns indicated that the race between Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley and Republican state Sen. Scott Brown was too close to call.
A Suffolk University poll of three key towns Saturday and Sunday — Fitchburg, Gardner and Peabody — gave Brown a comfortable lead in each.
Massachusetts Voter Turnout Reportedly High Despite Snow
A commenter at Pharyngula wrote this on the thread about today's election:
I voted about 4:00PM. The polling place in my town was more crowded by far than at any other election in the over 20 years I've lived here. That includes Presidential elections.
Whether a heavy turnout is a good sign or not, I can't really judge. The weather is crappy but lots of people are voting anyway. If it means anything, Coakley had two sign-wavers outside the polling place, and Brown had about a dozen (raw wet weather or not).
Massachusetts: NON-pointless poll alert! (comment by Donnie B.)
Good for you, Massachusetts. It can't be easy going to the polls in lousy weather, with what most folks I've read seem to feel is a less than stellar choice. It's a close race, which I'd say is one motivator, but I can't think of any others beyond the desire to make a statement.
Steve Benen reports that there are no exit polls. It looks like it might be quite a while before results are known.
As for peoples' reading of the consequences, I think Steve Benen, not notable as a critic of the Democratic Party establishment, said it pretty well when he wrote this:
Even after Massachusetts, Democrats will have a fairly popular president and the largest congressional majority in a generation. If they want to go through the motions and see if any Republicans might be willing to play a constructive role, fine, just so long as they keep expectations low. But Dems weren't given the reins with the expectation they'd do nothing with them.
Even after Brown is sworn in, Dems will have an opportunity to deliver and make a positive difference in the lives of Americans. What better way to respond to a pounding than to bounce off the ropes, taking a few swings? Pass a jobs bill, go after irresponsible banks, bring some safeguards to Wall Street, repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Prove to the country that Dems are at least trying to legislate, and demonstrate that a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president have the wherewithal to tackle the issues that matter.
Actually, if Brown wins and they do that, then they have more going on upstairs than I give them credit for. I hope that, for the second time this year, my pessimism is unwarranted.
Wouldn't that be a nice change for the new year?
UPDATE: Looks like we'll have an opportunity to find out what the Democrats will do without sixty votes:
9:13 p.m. -- Coakley has conceded in a call to Scott Brown, according to a Brown aide.
9:38 p.m. -- “I have no interest in sugar coating what happened in Massachusetts. There is a lot of anxiety in the country right now. Americans are understandably impatient" -- Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez.
“In the days ahead, we will sort through the lessons of Massachusetts: the need to redouble our efforts on the economy, the need to show that our commitment to real change is as powerful as it was in 2008, and the reality that we cannot take a single thing for granted and cannot afford even a second of complacency.
Live Coverage of the US Senate Race (Boston Globe)
Let the recrimination and back-biting begin. Hopefully, they'll get on to the lessons learned soon.
(h/t Ian Welsh, who, by the way, seems to have the next few years figured out pretty well.)