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Why Clinton Won In Massachusetts

I lived in Massachsuetts for a long time before moving to Michigan, so it's a state I know well.  And looking at the regional breakdown there, the ethnic and racial divide is not surprising.  But I find it striking all the same.

With 70 percent of Boston's precincts reporting, Obama is winning by a modest margin (52 to 46 percent), presumably reflecting the support of his now-familiar coalition of college students, young professionals, and African-Americans.  Among cities where the counting is finished, Obama won in the upscale Boston suburbs of Brookline, Lexington, Wellsley, plus he won easily in the college towns of Amherst. 

I'm not entirely surprised.  My wife's family lives in Leicester -- a small, heavily Irish Catholic town just west of Worcester.  When we visited there in December, Clinton was the overwhelming favorite.  Over the last two weeks, I heard a lot of wavering; Kennedy's endorsement, I suspect, got a lot of people thinking. 

But in the end, it seems, most of the town ended up where it started. Clinton carried Leicester, 1297 votes to Obama's 631. 

Oh, one more thing: One relatively big Massachusetts city has yet to report: Cambridge. I assume Obama will perform well there, too -- I know of one vote, at least.  Perhaps that will help Obama close what, right now, looks like a surprisingly large 15 point gap.

--Jonathan Cohn