I have been looking at the numbers of some past elections. Some of the broad themes are becoming common knowledge, but I broke down some numbers and offer some observations for those who may not be familiar with the state.
FIVE ON THE MONEY:
Regardless of size or demographics, these six cities and towns often vote the same as the state at large. As they go, so seems the state.
2002 Official: Romney won 50 to 45.
2008 Official: Obama won 62 to 36.
Romney: 55 to 49
Obama: 65 to 33
Romney: 49 to 45
Obama: 60 to 38
Romney: 49 to 45
Obama: 63 to 35
Romney: 51 to 43
Obama: 63 to 35
Romney: 50 to 45
Obama: 59 to 40
THE ROMNEY TEN:
Here is a list of ten cities to watch. These mid-sized cities usually vote Democratic, but broke for Romney in 2002. Each city has a minimum population of 30,000 and represents a diverse region.
1. Braintree, population 34,442 (South Shore)
Brown will do well south of Braintree, along the South Shore. The South Shore is important for Brown. Quincy, wedged between Boston and Braintree, may be tough for him. But Braintree is the real fault line that seperates Greater Boston from the South Shore. He needs to do well there.
Romney: 55% with 8,073
O'Brien: 42% with 6,130
Obama: 50% with 9,298
McCain: 48% with 8,964
2. Falmouth, population 33,247 (Cape Cod)
Cape Cod is also important for Brown, especially the more densely populated western half. Brown should do well in the region, but the city to watch is Falmouth. Falmouth may be the biggest battleground in the region. It should break for Brown.
Romney: 51% with 7,642
O'Brien 44% with 6,490
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 is located along the New Hampshire border. The area has suffered as a result of the tax disparities between NH and MA. Anti-Beacon Hill sentiments run strong in the region. 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
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 crush Plymouth and Barnstable County, but that alone is not enough. Brown should win many small towns in Metro-West and elsewhere, but if he can carry the vote rich mid-sized cities outside of his home turf in the South Shore, it will be a great sign.
Romney: 51% with 10,868
O'Brien: 44% with 9,225
Obama: 67% with 17,839
McCain: 32% with 8,464
5. Westfield, population 40,160, (Western Mass)
Western Mass is Coakley country. The sparsely populated region shouldn't be a big factor in this race. But Westfield may be a city worth watching. It is one of the largest battlefields in the region. Obama won by eight points with 9,304 votes. The vote totals here may reflect the level of interest in the region by Democrats and Republicans.
Romney: 54% with 7,050
O'Brien: 42% with 5,447
Obama: 53% with 9,304
McCain: 45% with 7,762
6. Peabody, population 51,441, (North Shore)
The North Shore has Republican belts. Its a diverse region and Peabody represents one of the larger swing cities in the region. Brown has strong support in the South Shore, but he needs help in the North Shore. Brown needs a strong showing here.
Romney: 53% with 10,520
O'Brien: 43% with 8,397
Obama: 57% with 14,818
McCain: 42% with 10,800
7. Fitchburg, population 39,835, (Central Mass)
Fitchburg is a true battleground city in central Mass. Romney won the state by five, but only squeaked out a three point win here. If Brown is leading here it is an excellent sign. Fitchburg is located in the northern central part of the state and is close to NH like Haverhil.
Romney: 49% with 5,061
O'Brien: 46% with 4,655
Obama: 60% with 8596
McCain: 38% with 5,378
8. Waltham, population 59,798, (Metro West)
Waltham lies right outside the Democratic heart of the state. Like Braintree to the south, it represents a fault line. Its is a battleground city seperating Greater Boston from Metro-West. It is also a true bellweather state. Its a state worth watching very closely.
Romney: 51% with 8742
O'Brien: 43% with 7523
Obama: 63% with 15,265
McCain: 35% with 8,383
9. Plymouth, Population 55,188, (South Shore)
Plymouth may be the most Republican city on this list. It is located in the South Shore, which is Brown country. Obama won this city by only seven points with 15,180 votes. It is worth watching the margins and turnout in South Shore cities. Plymouth is large and should be vote rich for Brown.
Romney: 58% with 11,025
O'Brien: 37% with 6,888
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 it located along the Rhode Island border. The Blackstone Valley, which lies along the Rhode Island border is solid GOP country. Romney did well here. Brown will need to max out this red corridor.
Romney: 59% with 6,835
O'Brien: 37% with 4,297
Obama: 56% with 10,523
McCain: 42% with 8,003
THE 'EVEN MCCAIN WON' LIST:
Obama beat McCain 62 to 36. McCain only won a small fraction of cities and towns and most of them have small populations. Brown needs to crush Coakley in the following cities and towns:
There are fourteen counties in Massachusetts: Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcestor. You can find a good map of each country, city and town here.
Counties are not homogenous and make poor reference markers. But, generally speaking, Berkshire, Bristol, Dukes, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Nantucket, and Suffolk bleed deep blue. Brown needs big numbers in Barnstable and Plymouth. Brown will also need to do well in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and parts of Worcestor.
Brown's home turf is the South Shore. The "South Shore" is not the same as the "South Coast", which is Coakley turf. Coakley's base lies in Greater Boston, Western Mass, the South Coast and all the major cities. Brown's base lies in the South Shore, the Upper Cape, and the Blackstone Valley. The key battlegrounds lie in the North Shore, the Merrimac Valley, Metro-West and Greater Worcestor.
The largest cities will break for Coakley. Brown will need low turnout in the major cities. The Bay State's top 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
YOU'LL KNOW COAKLEY IS IN TROUBLE PART I:
Of the top ten cities, Lowell and Quincy may be the most competitive. If Brown can stay competitive in Quincy or Lowell, its a sign that Coakley is in big trouble.
YOU'LL KNOW COAKLEY IS IN TROUBLE PART II:
You know Martha Coakley is in trouble if the turnout is low in Boston, Worcestor, Springfield, Cambridge, Brockton, Fall River, New Bedford, Lynn, Lawrence, Newton, Brookline, Somerville, Watertown, Arlington, Malden, Medford, Pittsfield, Holyoke, North Adams, Amherst and Northhampton.
There was a huge absentee ballot movement on behalf of Brown. They are counted last, but should break heavily for Brown. However, dont underestimate possible shenanigans .
ODDS AND ENDS:
* Somerville is a major Democratic stronghold, but it is Mike Capuano's city. If his people don't bother to show up, Coakley is done.
* Chelsea (Eastern MA) and Holyoke (Western MA) represent two hispanic cities. It is unknown if minorities will show up for Coakley. They may be good indicators.
* Brown represents Wrentham, but grew up in the North Shore in Wakefield.
* Coakley is from Pittsfield, a major Democratic city in the West and lives in Medford.
* Coakley made her bones as a prosecutor in Middlesex County.
* The local Fox affiliate doesn't have as much fluff as the other local networks, but Scott Brown's wife works for the local ABC affiliate. NECN is a decent local outlet.