Chatting on the Massachusetts Senate race
We spent an hour fielding questions on the Massachusetts Senate race -- among other topics -- in our weekly "Live Fix" chat earlier today.
The race has gone into hyper-drive with state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) stumping with former President Bill Clinton today even as state Sen. Scott Brown (R) campaigned alongside former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Both sides acknowledge the race is extremely close and how the candidates perform over the long weekend could make the difference.
Here are a few of our favorite questions (and answers) on the state of play in Massachusetts from today's "Live Fix" chat:
Arlington, Mass.: Hi Chris, love your column. This is more a comment, than a question. Coming from Massachusetts and a Democrat, I think any other Democrat candidate would have had the Senate seat wrapped up by the holidays. Coakley isn't an effective candidate; she comes across stiff and hasn't really spoken to citizens. Whereas Brown is showing at desire for the seat. So to read about these polls, I don't think it's an accurate statement saying that Massachusetts isn't happy with the Democrats. I think the race has more to do with the candidates, than the country as a whole.
Chris Cillizza: No question that Coakley is a less-than-inspiring candidate who has run a less-than-inspiring campaign.
That said, I don't think the fact that she is not a particularly good candidate is the sole reason for her vulnerability heading into Tuesday.
The fact is that across the country -- even in a Democratic stronghold like Massachusetts -- there is a real anger towards the status quo and politicians (of either party) who aim to preserve it.
That environment has helped frame this race. Coakley has down herself no favors, however, by allowing Brown to seize the "change" mantle and label her as part of the problem.
Anonymous: What is the reputation in your business of Suffolk University/News 7 polls?
Related Q: There is a poll taken yesterday by people in Alexandria called Cross Target showing Brown at 53.9%,Coakley at 38.5%, undecided 7.5%. Never heard of Cross Target. Know anything about them?
Chris Cillizza: I don't know anything specific about the Suffolk poll other than that it is a live caller survey as opposed to a robo poll like the Cross Target survey.
The polling community generally believes live caller polling to be the more reliable and even the most gung ho Republicans I know don't think Brown is winning by 15 points.
Remember this when trying to analyze polling in a race: No one poll should be taken as the "right" one. Polling is part science and part art, so the best way to figure out the direction of the race is to take all the available data and average it out. That will probably get you close to the right answer.
Cambridge, MA: I still think Coakley wins this race by 8+ points and the story is marginalized post-election. The voter ID for Dems is just too large and this national attention has woken up MA residents.
HOWEVER, I think this really spells trouble for Governor Deval Patrick's future. Republicans have figured out how to campaign here in MA and they have a couple quality candidates to choose from in the upcoming primary. Patrick should be worried, right?
Chris Cillizza: Great minds!
I am not sure I agree on Coakley -- solely because the race has been so unpredictable to this point -- but I think that no matter what happens on Tuesday you have a clear winner and a clear loser already.
Winner: Scott Brown. His candidacy has shocked the political world so even if he comes up short he will be touted for any and all open office in the state. One potential option: Coakley's attorney general post.
Loser: Deval Patrick. The ONE thing that Democrats thought could save Patrick in 2010 was the strong Democratic lean of the state. This special election has proven that, at least right now, partisanship matters less than the climate of anger/unsettledness in the state. Really bad news for Patrick.
January 15, 2010; 4:09 PM ET
Categories: Fix Notes , Senate
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