For giggles' sake, I took every single Democrat who did not vote for Deval Patrick in the primary, and awarded their votes to a mythical Independent candidate, named Tim C. in the general. Unenrolled voters, and Democrats who did not vote in the primary, went untouched. The results would have been:
|Tim C./ Guy G.*||459,332|
This proves nothing (for many, many reasons) about what will happen in 2010. What it does indicate is that even if we reduce Deval Patrick's vote total to Democrats who liked him during the primary, he's in great shape. Even subtracting every Democrat who did not vote for Deval Patrick in the 2006 primary -- discounting any idea of party loyalty -- you have to figure that Deval Patrick starts with about 700,000 votes in hand, almost a third of the total cast. That even allows for a large percentage of Deval Patrick supporters who have since moved away. In any case, if you start a three-way race with 1/3 of the votes on your side before the debate even begins, you have a really great chance of winning the whole enchilada.
Hypothetical: Tim Cahill runs a meandering campaign that nonetheless does a bit better than Mihos and captures 10% of the vote, or about 220,000 votes. That means that in order to win, Deval Patrick needs to keep his loyal soldiers from the 2006 primary season, and merely add on about one-fifth of the remaining electorate.
I'll repeat that -- Deval's winning coalition is:
2006 primary voters + one-fifth of the entire remaining electorate.
That 20% is a small majority of Democrats who voted for Reilly or Gabrieli in the primary. Or a healthy dollop of first-time or second-time voters, or a fair amount of unenrolleds. What it means is that unless Cahill can somehow poach on people who sided with Deval Patrick way back when, Cahill isn't moving up in the world, and Deval isn't moving out of his office.
|Democratic gubernatorial primary|
|2006 gubernatorial election, Massachusetts|
|Democratic||Deval Patrick |
|Republican||Kerry Healey |
|Independent||Christy Mihos |
(John J. Sullivan)
|Green-Rainbow||Grace Ross |
|Total votes||2,219,779||55.63%%||+ 0.40|
|Democratic gain from Republican||Swing||+ 25.13|