There has been up until now a lack of polls explicitly dealing with what the pundits and politicians are most curious about, which is what exactly voters were asking for in the MA-SEN.
A new Washington Post Harvard Poll shows what it was not:* It was not a call to return to the Bush years. 63 percent of Massachusetts voters thought the country is on the wrong track, but that is still down from 83 percent in 2008. * It was not a sign Obama has made no progress on the economy. 45 percent say they are very worried about the economy, but that is down from 55 percent in 2008.
* There was overwhelming support for working government and passing legislation under Democratic leadership. 82 percent of all voters should Scott Brown should work with the Democrats. Only 11 percent said he should "stop the Democratic agenda." That includes 75% of Brown voters. 60% of Brown voters feel strongly that he should work with Obama. * There was overwhelming support for passing health care reform. 70% of all voters think Brown should work with the Democrats to get something passed. Only 28% want to 'stop Obamacare'. Brown voters are sharply divided on the question. Only 50% want to 'stop Obamacare', whereas 48% of Brown voters want Brown to work with Democrats on health care. 94% of Coakley voters want the same.
* It was not a rejection of Obama or a referendum on Obama. Scott Brown himself was perfectly correct about this. 61% of all voters approve of Obama, including 33% of Brown voters. 69% of nonvoters also approve of Obama. * It was not a rejection of Obama's policies. 52% of all voters were enthusiastic or satisfied with Obama's policies, while only 47% said they were dissatisfied or angry, a perfect mirror of the election result. The 'angry voter' narrative is statistically wrong.
* It was (by a slight margin) a rejection of the Senate bill, but only by a plurality, not a majority. By a 48-43 margin, voters opposed the proposed changes to health care as of Jan. 19, with 66 percent of Brown voters strongly opposing. * However, voters overwhelmingly supported the very similar Massachusetts bill, despite worries over how well it's been managed. 68% of all voters, including a bare majority, 51% of Brown voters support the Massachusetts Universal Health Care Law, which is very, very similar to the Senate bill. This suggests that had Obamacare passed, it would have been popular after the fact.
Everyone needs to stop hyperventilating over Massachusetts and see it for what it was: (1) the economy is in horrible, horrible shape, with unemployment at 10 percent, (2) it is an effective mid term environment, (3) moderate voters wanted 'balance' to the Democrats' 60 seat supermajority, and most of all (4) Scott Brown ran a far, far superior campaign and was a more appealing candidate, while his opponent disdained campaigning at all.