I grew up in Massachusetts. Lived there through HS, then went out of state for college, and subsequently into the military. And while I have not really lived there in over 20 years, I do remember a few things about the place.
Michael Barone has a good look today at some polling in bellweather towns in the Bay State, and if I may, I would like to steal a line from him. He says those towns are "emblematic of blue-collar Massachusetts...despite the prominence of the state’s university communities".
This is a great point, especially how it relates to this election battle between Brown and Coakley. Massachusetts is known as a Democratic stronghold, and most people vote Dem because for a long time, there really weren't other viable alternatives, and 'despite the prominence of the state’s university communities' that doesn't mean it is a liberal stronghold. In fact most of Massachusetts comes from 'hearty stock', or in other words a Catholic, blue-collar background. And while perhaps not as conservative as other places in the country, as a voting block it is certainly more mainstream than the liberal crowd pulled in and retained by the magnet of Harvard/Radcliffe/Brandeis/Tufts.
What this really means is that a mildly conservative, blue-collar candidate has a lot of unrecognized and untapped reserve to draw upon when running to tweak the nose of Massachusetts' limousine-liberal elite. Call them the 'Will Hunting' voters.
Unlike the past when a liberal who lives in Beacon Hill, and the plumber who fixes his sinks and lives in Somerville could generally be relied upon to both vote for Ted Kennedy, this year the plumber from Somerville has a choice that easily appeals to *him* and will stick it to all those Ha-vahd snobs who have always looked down at him.
Scott Brown can win, because he authentically appeals to a voting block that has been taken for granted in the Bay State for a long, long time.....