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Turn Out Higher?

By noon, more than 55,000 voters cast their ballots in Boston - up from an estimate of 24,000 during the December primary. That puts Boston on pace to produce more than 150,000 votes. In raw votes, if this keeps up, that'll be slightly more than the 2002 or 2006 state elections, but well below presidential years. (The surge in enrollments in '08 means that a slight increase in the number of voters would still be a significantly lower percentage.)

It's also above the election eve forecasts. The Secretary of State predicated roughly double the December turnout - so far, Boston is actually up 130%. And with lines discouraging voters at some precincts and a snowy morning, coupled with much more intensive GOTV efforts, there are some indications that turnout may actually tilt toward the afternoon.

It's too soon for optimism. Turnout had to exceed projections for Coakley to have any chance. Well, it has - so she's still in the running. But we're going to need more numbers before we can guess whether she'll pull it out.

I would stress the readers caveat that this is really nothing for Dems to get too excited about. What it does suggest is that the kind of big turnout Coakley would need to pull this off seems to be happening. Solid turnout is a necessary but by no means sufficient condition.