Scott_P._BrownAs we’ve said here before, the Senate special election in Massachusetts was a lot of things. One can probably find a hundred different explanations for why Scott Brown won in a hundred different bars on a given five o’clock (though we’re not advocating this polling method.)

But there’s hard evidence that whatever else Massachusetts voters were saying, they weren’t saying stop national health reform. Despite our convincing case, the national media kept saying the election was a referendum on health care reform. We kept looking at the polls, which said otherwise. So we’re taking the old statistician’s route: Say it again, with numbers.

The Massachusetts special election was not about health reform.

For voters, the economy came first. Seventy-nine percent of voters said their first priority was to “strengthen the economy and create more good jobs.”

And though 82 percent of voters said they knew of Scott Brown’s position to oppose national reform, this was a wash — just as many said this made them more likely to vote for him, as said it made them less likely to vote for him. (No one said Bay Staters were an easy crowd to figure out.)

And perhaps most tellingly, a majority of both overall voters Brown supporters (including Brown himself) supported Massachusetts health reform – a law that has achieved 98 percent health insurance coverage and served as a model for the national bills passed by the House and Senate. That’s powerful stuff: Opposed to many commentators who have the freedom/burden of conjecturing what reform might do, Massachusetts residents are living with the changes reform made and is making everyday – and they’re pleased.

Hungry for more proof? Check out our fact sheet.

–Kate Petersen, Health Policy Hub

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons