In her surprisingly strong 8-percentage point victory over Senator Scott Brown, Democrat Elizabeth Warren rang up huge margins in urban enclaves and captured the majority of Obama voters, denying Brown the “ticket-splitters” he needed to survive, according to a Globe analysis of election results.
On Tuesday, Brown, who won the seat in January 2010 by beating heavily favored Democrat Martha Coakley, reclaimed most of the communities he carried in that first race, with the notable exception of Lowell.
The difference was the intensity of the vote for Warren in Boston and other urban areas in Eastern and Central Massachusetts, as well her strength in the liberal suburbs inside Route 128 and in the western college towns.
Warren dominated the cities. In Boston, she received nearly three times as many votes as Brown, earning 183,606 to his 63,858. The margin of 120,000 was roughly double the cushion Coakley was able to build in Boston two years ago.
In Springfield, Warren won by 26,000 votes, a dramatic improvement on Coakley’s 7,000-vote victory in 2010. Warren took Worcester by 14,000 votes and Brockton by 12,000, two cities Coakley won narrowly. By running up the score in those urban communities—as well as others, such as Lynn, New Bedford, and Fall River—Warren more than made up for Brown’s strength in the less populous suburbs.
Statewide, Warren earned 54 percent of the vote to Brown’s 46 percent. She received about 1.67 million votes to Brown’s 1.45 million.
Brown was able to defeat Coakley handily in 2010: 52 percent to 47 percent. But his win had come in a low-turnout special election following the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
After that stinging defeat, Democrats had looked at the 2012 race as an opportunity to overwhelm Brown with liberal voters who stayed home in 2010, but would be more motivated to vote with a presidential contest on the ballot.
That is apparently what happened.
The 2012 race attracted about 877,000 more voters in Massachusetts than the 2.25 million who participated in the 2010 Brown-Coakley race, according to vote results.
Assuming Brown held onto his supporters from 2010, Warren won about 68 percent of the additional voters.
John Walsh, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said that Warren built a “remarkable grass-roots ground operation that took voter turnout to new levels.” He credited months of painstaking door-knocking for helping to build Warren’s margins in Democratic strongholds and to reduce Brown’s advantage in some suburbs. The Warren campaign also paid great attention to pushing turnout in minority communities, he said. “It was a remarkable commitment to face-to-face, door-to-door voter contact.”
In his victory over Coakley, Brown did well on the North Shore and Cape Cod, showed great strength in the outer Boston suburbs along Interstate 495, as well as Worcester County and the Quabbin region, and in towns along the Massachusetts Turnpike as far as Otis. He ran well again in those areas Tuesday, despite being swamped by high Democratic turnout in the cities.Mark Arsenault can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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