Wish I had a moment to say something more in-depth, but since I’m using my lunch break to both eat and post this, I’ll have to settle for a few thoughts.
1. The weather here is shitty—wet, sloppy snow—and that probably helps Brown. Low turnouts are generally good for challengers because their voters tend to be more motivated. They’ll turn out in muck to change the system, whereas supporters of incumbents (or members of entrenched incumbent parties, in this case) feel their candidate is safe without their votes and are more easily convinced to stay home.
2. However, turnout has been surprisingly strong so far, which I think is a good sign for Coakley. It could be that every last member of Brown’s base is at the polls and they alone are enough to make turnout look high for an off-year special election, but I doubt it. What I think is happening is that all the national coverage of Brown’s surge has led a lot of complacent Massachusetts liberals to realize that, for once, the primaries were not the only vote that matters. The same goes for people who were going to stay home because because, you know, Coakley sucks, who’re now realizing that it’s important to hold their noses and vote the ticket if they don’t want zombie Ted Kennedy on their doorsteps tomorrow.
3. It’s important to note that the Globe article is referring to strong turnout in Boston, which is usually very strongly Democratic and always the source of the lion’s share of the state’s votes. In Boston, most people can walk to their polling places. This may make a difference, because the largest Republican enclaves are on the Cape and along the I-495 loop that skirts the city, where all those people who have office jobs in Boston but don’t want to see a person of color in their neighborhood live. If it snows hard enough, especially if the roads get bad, those people might decide to go straight home after work. A girl can dream.
4. If Scott Motherfucking Brown wins this election, I’m moving to France, where I can vote Socialist, spend a month on the Riviera every summer, and drink red wine by the gallon. À bientôt, mes amis.