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Majority of Central Mass Voters are Independent - Why It Matters

Thursday, August 30, 2012

 

More than half of registered voters in Worcester County chose not to enroll with a political party, indicating that many votes may still be up for grabs this November.

According to new data released by the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office, 289,202 primary voters registered as unenrolled in Worcester County.

This group of unenrolled voters represents 57.59 percent of the roughly 500,000 total voters registered in the county.

145,252 voters, or 28.92 percent, registered as Democrats, and only 64,505, or 12.85 percent registered as Republicans. 705 voters registered as Green-Rainbow.

Statewide numbers were similar, with a slightly higher percentage of registered Democrats (35.56 percent), 11.29 percent registered Republicans, and 52.60 percent unenrolled.

Independents to Make All the Difference

Several experts have noted the role of independent voters in this fall's election, and the new voter registration numbers hammer home the importance of reaching out beyond a candidate's core constituency.

The Massachusetts Senate race between Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren may have the most riding on the independent voters of Central Mass.

The latest data from Public Policy Polling indicate that Brown currently enjoys a 58-32 advantage over Warren among independents and a 49-44 lead overall.

"Professor Warren's ultra-liberal crusade for higher taxes and bigger government is driving moderate, independent voters away," said Tim Buckley, communications director for the Massachusetts Republican Party.

"Given Worcester County's higher than average percentage of independent voters, she is going to have a hard time convincing folks that the self-proclaimed founder of the radical Occupy movement is the right choice."

Central Mass voted decidedly in Brown's favor during his 2010 contest against Attorney General Martha Coakley, but Mass Dems cautioned against putting too much faith in those numbers.

"Special elections are different than Presidential elections with many more people engaged and hundreds of thousands more expected to vote," said John Walsh, chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

"With President Obama at the top of the ticket, Scott Brown faces a steep climb with strong headwinds because of his record of voting for tax breaks for big oil and billionaires instead of for middle class families and small businesses."

PPP's polling on the presidential race in the Bay State this month put Obama up 55-39 on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Split Tickets and Split Decisions

The disparity in poll numbers between the presidential and Senate races seems to indicate that, for voters in the Commonwealth, this year's election comes down to more than a national-level battle of Democrats-versus-Republicans, despite Warren's newest ad campaign attempting to portray the race in such a light.

UMass-Lowell Political Science professor Morgan Marietta said that, when it comes to those in the middle of the road, the latest polling suggests that more voters see Warren as too far to the left than they see Brown as too far to the right.

"Brown's set of On the Road ads have been effective in humanizing him in a non-partisan way, expressing core values of patriotism and support for hard-working citizens," Marietta said.

"Brown's humanizing campaign may be more effective with independents than Warren's direct appeal to her core constituency." 

 

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Comments:

Hye Aghcheg

That's nonsense. Many people in MA register as Independents, but they're still diehard Democrats. They vote by party, not candidates. How else do you explain 85% of our politicians being Dems?

Edward Saucier

The majority of Central Mass. voters may be registered Independents but it doesn't matter because the majority of those aren't really independent. The real Independent most likely won't vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. Take me for instance, I'm torn between Ralph Nader and myself as the write in candidate for POTUS. For US Senate I go for Liz Warren because she's the best candidate money can't buy and she's really cute.

Stephen Quist

RepubliCants in Massachusetts are condemned to be relegated as has beens........rightwinger extremist neo-cons are in no way reflective of the core values of the citizens of Massachusetts and thats why they vote overwhelmingly for the party that stands up for the 99%....trickle down economics has been thoroughly discredited and discounted just like the ticket of IHOP'er Hall of Famer flip-flopper mitty and lyin paul ryan that will get blown out come election day......like the republiCant party these 2 clowns just don't get it....they want to re-implement the same fgailed economic policies of bush/cheney that led our great country into the worst recession since the great depression




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