When heading toward re-election pols tend to take the feelings of the voters back home a lot more seriously.
In Maine for example Republicans swept statewide elections pretty solidly. It should have an interesting effect on Maine two liberal republicans and the day of their next race comes closer.
In Massachusetts the clean sweep of offices for democrats will likely not be lost on Scott Brown when election day 2012 comes around. The same turnout machine that pushed Patrick et/al will still exist, and may even be aided by national money.
But the dynamic in the Senate has changed dramatically as George Will puts it:
When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had 40 or 41 senators in his caucus, he usually had 40 or 41 votes when he felt he urgently needed them. Beginning in January, with at least 46 senators, he will always have 41 votes when he really wants them.
There are going to be times when Scott Brown is going to want to demonstrate his “independence” from the GOP caucus. With 6 votes to give McConnell will be able to do without Brown, or Collins or Snowe and still stop anything he needs to.
The question is this. Will he gain more sympathy at home opposing the GOP or not. Or to put it another way. We know the machine will be against him no matter what he does, so will he make more points with the electorate with the electorate going left or going right?
Of course he could just do the right thing and do what he thinks is right…