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Farai Chideya

Farai Chideya

Posted: January 20, 2010 01:05 AM

The Brown Victory: Mapping Massachusetts' Unaffiliated Voters

What's Your Reaction:

How did Massachusetts unaffiliated and independents vote in the Massachusetts Senate race? Being as there are reportedly no exit polls for the race Republican Scott Brown won, we may never know.

Some numbers.

A majority of Massachusetts voters (fifty-one percent) are unaffiliated. Among voters stating a party preference, Democrats have a three-to-one advantage over Republicans.

Yes, until now, Massachusetts has not has a Republican Senator since 1972. But despite the Kennedy legacy, it is hardly a one party state. Republicans held the office of Massachusetts Governor from 1990-2006. (Democrat Deval Patrick is the governor, and the first African-American to hold that office in the state.)

Different political constituencies are crowing or crying over Senator-elect Brown's victory. I'd like to understand more about the people who voted for him, especially whether unaffiliated voters, who made up the majority of the Massachusetts voting population, tended to have unified ideological goals. Two people can vote for the same candidates for very different reasons. Saying that a voter is unaffiliated or independent is similar, in its descriptive scope, to saying that someone is mixed-race. You could say that about someone who's Black-Korean or someone who's White-Mexican. It's not that the label is wrong; it's just incomplete.

Was this vote the harbinger of a Republican Revolution redux? Or is it a singular expression of choice based on one set of candidates? Did unaffiliated voters in this Senate race tend to have a common ideology that will shape their actions in 2010 and 2012?

I toss the questions to you....

 

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