January 18th, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Swing voters will decide Kennedy seat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/18/coakley.jpg]

Editor's note: John P. Avlon is senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and author of the forthcoming "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America."

John P. Avlon
Special to CNN

On Tuesday, the eyes of the political world will be turned to Massachusetts where an unexpectedly close special election is being held to determine who will succeed Ted Kennedy in the Senate.

Conventional wisdom labels Massachusetts a liberal bastion, but this stereotype misses the mark. In fact, there are more independents in Massachusetts than Democrats or Republicans.

Take a look at the numbers: There are roughly 2.1 million independent voters in Massachusetts, 1.5 million Democrats, and 500,000 Republicans. Yes, Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the Bay State - especially in Boston - but there are more independents than Democrats and Republicans combined.

This is the key to understanding why the race between Republican State Sen. Scott Brown and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, is so close. It reflects a broader dynamic occurring in American politics: Independents are the largest and fastest growing segment of the electorate.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Democrats • Raw Politics • Republicans
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Hey, polls say even 20% of the Democrats support Brown. This is a popular uprising against the Democrats and their failed promises. November will be a Democrat bloodbath, but as of tomorrow Obama is a lame duck.

    January 18, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  2. mary golden rn

    Im so glad this is happening, and I think its ironic that "Ted Kennedys seat" as you like to call it will be the one to stop this health care bill.

    January 18, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  3. Diana holland

    I think this election will be very telling what the average American thinks of the direction the currant goverment is taking us!! If one of most liberal states votes for a republican, we may need to stop and rethink where we want to be ten years from now or for our childrens future... DEMS wake up and smell the roses!! Thankyou. A recovering decocrat!!!

    January 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  4. Boomer in Mo

    Coakley is lackluster, and maybe not too bright. Brown is dynamic and seems pretty smart, at least to hear him talk.
    And Mass. already has healthcare for nearly everyone. They have no interest is seeing anyone else have it.

    January 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  5. Bette, Quincy Ma

    I'm casting my vote forea Scott Brown tomorrow and sending a message to Washington that we need checks and balances and won"t have their health plan shoved down our throats.

    January 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  6. steve- virginia beach

    What's it going to take for the news media to understand that it's not Ted Kennedy's seat? It's the people of Massachusets' seat. You guys really need to find a copy of the US Constitution and read it over and over until you understand our founding fathers' intentions.

    January 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  7. Tammy, Houma, LA

    Did anyone ever stop to think people became tired of the Kennedy dynasty and simply want something different in DC now? The last year has been a dismal disaster area at the federal level. Maybe voters actually want real change and not the broken promises of the current administration.

    January 18, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  8. Tim Gibson

    It is not only those who are registered as independant, but those who vote as such regardless of red dog, blue dog check marks.

    January 18, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  9. sue scott

    party shouldn't matter but who can do the job best...if Scott Brown were a Dem. I'd want him in...sorry, the lady has not shown to be of the standard needed, sounded-like by some of her comments.
    Ewa Beach,HI

    January 18, 2010 at 11:50 am |