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Scott Brown’s Mathematical Problem

April 16, 2011

   (Photo courtesy of the National Republic Trust PAC. Ironic I know.)

If you’re a Democrat in Massachusetts despite the fact that Scott Brown has earned quite the war chest you may be beginning to practice a little caution optimism when it comes to the 2012 race. Not only is the party taking the race seriously, but the math (and those pesky voters) may be on a different side this time around.

For those like myself who are generally skeptical when pundits and pollsters inform you that there’s little doubt a solid candidate could beat an incumbent especially one as popular as Brown I’ll share a bit of Massachusetts history.

Massachusetts hasn’t voted for a Republican candidates for President since the 1984 election that Reagan won by less than 3%. Between 1952 and 1988 the state has only gone Republican four times.  President Obama won MA with 1,904,097 votes or a little more than 61% of the vote. During the 2009 special election Brown won over 1,168178 voters gaining momentum from a low democratic turnout and a few successful media bids, but only earning about 5% more voter than McCain in 2008.

To win in 2012 Brown’s going to have to convince a significant number of the 1.7 million democrats who come out during the Presidential elections to cast votes for both Obama and Brown or (less likely) a Republican Presidential candidate. For most people weighing their options a vote for the President may make a vote for Brown nearly impossible to rationalize.

I’m not saying that I don’t hope the Democratic field is filled with enthusiastic candidates or that activists should sit it out. What I am saying is that we may be in for a slightly less turbulent ride this time around. Math may not be the deciding factor in the 2012 race, but it certainly won’t hurt.

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