I have read so much rubbish on this topic. So much. I might as well add my own rubbishy thoughts to the pile.
First, and foremost, Massachusetts already has universal health insurance. The HCR is not offering people there anything but extra taxes for some.* See the problem?
Second, the economic situation is horrible and incumbents are always blamed for that.
Third, both Coakley, the Democratic machineries and the Obama administration played this one terribly.
Fourth, this does NOT mean that Massachusetts has turned wingnutty or that people there even realize what a Republican Senator means for the state. The last one they had was in the early 1970s and that was a very different Republican Party.
I'm writing this before the final results are out (though Brown looks to be the winner), but if there are lessons to be learned from this I sincerely hope that they are about real problems in the campaign and not about the gender of the candidate. Because I'm like that.
*Ken Houghton in the comments pointed out that I'm wrong about that and linked to this:
Last week, Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth Magazine’s CW Unbound blog did a smart job responding on the substance. On a pure financial basis, the national bills would be a huge boost for Massachusetts. Federal tax credits could replace much state spending for Commonwealth Care, enhanced Medicaid reimbursements would relieve pressure on the MassHealth budget, and new Medicare drug assistance would allow us to save much of our Prescription Advantage budget. For the overall state economy, the effect is even more positive. The federal bills include new tax credits for small businesses, a large ramp-up in health research, and strengthened federal support for Community Health Centers, medical education, and other areas that play to Massachusetts’ strength.
So I retract the tax bit. What remains is the fact that Massachusetts already has near-universal health insurance.