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Is the Massachusetts Senate race getting closer?



State Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) remains the frontrunner in the Jan. 19 Senate special election in Massachusetts. AP Photo/Steven Senne

For the last several weeks, there have been low-grade rumblings among some Republicans that state Sen. Scott Brown (R) is running surprisingly strongly in the Massachusetts Senate special election and might make the Jan. 19 contest against state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) far closer than anyone believes.

New numbers out of Rasmussen -- an automated polling firm that Democrats believe heavily favors the GOP -- this morning are sure to stoke that sentiment as it shows Coakley leading Brown by just nine points.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a consultant to Brown's campaign and adviser to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, insisted that while his candidate is still the "underdog", there was enough unrest in the Bay State to make the race interesting. "As in New Jersey, another Democratic base state that just elected a Republican governor, unaffiliated voters in Massachusetts are fed up with overspending and business as usual in Washington," argued Fehrnstrom.

Is there any there there? In other words, is Brown really moving into position to shock the world on Jan. 19 or is he just benefiting from the national wind blowing in Democrats' collective faces?

The answer seems to be the latter -- for several reasons.

First and foremost, the odd date of the special election -- coming so soon after the extended holiday break -- means that Coakley's name identification edge and fundraising prowess are close to determinative.

Even in regularly scheduled elections where voters are habituated to going to their polling place, candidates and their campaigns struggle to get people interested enough in the race to not only pay attention to the competing messages but actually turn out and vote.

With historically low turnout predicted later this month, the fact that Coakley has already been elected statewide is a huge advantage as many voters, paying almost no attention to the race, are likely to go with the name they know rather than an unknown.

(A sidenote: Such a low turnout election -- and the lack of historical parallels for such a race -- make polling, which is based heavily on a predictive analysis of what the electorate will look like, extremely difficult. National Democrats insist that their own private polling has never shown Brown breaking out of the mid 30s.)

Coakley's fundraising abilities also ensures that she will be able to overwhelm Brown in the final weeks of the campaign as both candidates seek to drive their message home to voters. As of Nov. 18, Coakley had raised $4.2 million for the race and had $1.9 million in the bank; Brown, on the other hand, had raised just $460,000 and had $258,000 left to spend.

Coakley is expected to exploit her financial advantage by going on television this week, an ad campaign but almost certain to overwhelm the meager money that Brown is putting behind his own commercials with no help likely to come from the national GOP.

The second major reason not to believe that Coakley is in any real danger of losing is the overwhelmingly Democratic nature of the Bay State.

Democrats hold every statewide elected office in Massachusetts and all 10 of the congressional districts. In the state House and Senate, Democrats have close-to-insurmountable margins.

According to 2008 statistics, there are nearly 1.6 million registered Democrats in Massachusetts and just 490,000 Republicans. While Fehrnstrom and other Republicans believe that Brown could clean up among the 2.1 million voters who are registered with neither party, that scenario seems a bit far-fetched given that large swaths of independent/unaffiliated voters in Massachusetts tend to lean to the ideological left when they are truly pressed on their preferences.

All of the above doesn't mean that there isn't some level of concern about Coakley and the impact of the national political environment on her race.

One Massachusetts Democratic delegation insider, asked about Coakley's campaign said that "she's doing fine but she's not electrifying anyone outside of her hard core female base of voters", adding: "She's not making mistakes, she's cautious and careful running as a Democrat in one of the most Democratic of states knowing that in the end the votes are there."

There are other national Democratic strategists who are looking to Massachusetts less with worry about Coakley's chances than with interest about just how negative to their party the mood of the country has turned.

With the economy still struggling, the health care bill facing considerable skepticism from the public and terrorism re-awakened as a political issue by the attempted attack on Christmas day, it's clearly not the ideal environment for Democrats to be running in. As one Democratic consultant put it: "Even Massachusetts can't be totally immune from the Democratic cold."

Barring some sort of unforeseen -- and major -- event, Coakley will win this race. But, if the margin is single digits, look for Republicans to try and spin Brown's showing as a sign of things to come in the midterms. ("If we can come somewhat close in Massachusetts, imagine what we can do in the rest of the country.")

Be careful, however, to read too much into the margins. A dismally low turnout race two weeks into the new year is an imperfect predictor of what the November election will hold for the two sides.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 5, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

Massachusetts is a hopelessly liberal state. They should push it out in the Atlantic. The more enterprising people leave, the worse it gets. The people can tax themselves to 99% for all I care. They can command & control themselves to greater degrees of corruption. I am fed up with the northeast. They might as well push New York in the Atlantic too. They reward the irresponsible people and tax the responsible and enterprising people. The old Yankee values of accountability, responsibility and frugality are long gone. I have a bad feeling it going to start looking like Detroit around here pretty soon. I will have to move out of the North East as soon as my son is out of school. I hope my home value doesn’t sink even further. Why don’t all the left wingers live together? They can all tax themselves to abject poverty. I paid over 2 million in taxes over my life time and have nothing to show for it. People wonder why the Northeast is losing population.

Posted by: cutlers221 | January 10, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

This article says scott brown will take away health benefits that are guaranteed under law.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1221739&format=comments#CommentsArea

Posted by: matsuiny2004 | January 7, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about that double post, folks. The first one was supposed to be a preview and the system seemed to hang. I banged the buttons with my mouse a few times and must have hit the submit button once in there! Hopefully, some Admin person will kill the first (incomplete) copy and might even scratch this note to you guys as well. We can hope! (Really, I have a lot more hope in *that* small thing than a lot of other things lately -- LOL!!!)

Posted by: Clearbrook | January 6, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

You know, I don't hold out much hope for the Dems Getting their just deserts in this election. However, there is a negative undercurrent out there. Say the names James Marzilli and Dianne Wilkerson and Anthony Galluccio in the same sentence with Martha Coakley often enough and maybe, just maybe, the Right People will be angry enough to be sure to vote against Martha Coakley and the Right People will be too embarassed to vote for Martha Coakley. The corruption in the state of Massachusets has led to 3 Democratic Senators actually being arrested and pretty much forced to resign in the space of one year. Some people would understand that to be indicitave of more systemic corruption within the Democratic Party. Very few people are that plugged into the machine that they want such corruption if it gets their political party more power. But many are begining to understand that is exactly the way the machine works.

So although the hope is slim, it exists as more real hope than Obama has truely given us. That Martha Coakley has huge advantages in the amounts of money she can use to buy herself Ted's Seat in the US Senate may not work to her advantage if it is seen as part of the greater problem of "Buying" a vote. People *are* sick of that reality and the Democrats are the ones right now that are *obviously* selling their votes in the Senate. I do hope there is an upset, but I won't celebrate even if the Polls indicate it is possible until it actually happens.

If it does happen, I know the effect it should have on the Partisan Politics going on in Washington D.C. today. It would send chills down the spines of Democrats who feel secure enough to not worry about including everyone in the process. That Mandate could be more powerful than Obama's election, which was predicated upon "Hope" and "Change" that has evaporated since he got into office, and not just because of the Republican resistance, which most of American now realise is just plain crazy to blame everything on, since the Democrats can demonstratively prove that they don't need Republican Support if they don't want to include any ideas from the Republican side of the aisle! No, it is from the Corruption in the Democrats themselves that is finally and clearly short circuiting the Process! Give me my Graft -- OR Else! Great politics, Joe! Great politics, Ben!

Posted by: Clearbrook | January 6, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

You know, I don't hold out much hope for the Dems Getting their just deserts in this election. However, there is a negative undercurrent out there. Say the names James Marzilli and Dianne Wilkerson and Anthony Galluccio in the same sentence with Martha Coakley often enough and maybe, just maybe, the Right People will be angry enough to be sure to vote against Martha Coakley and the Right People will be too embarassed to vote for Martha Coakley. The corruption in the state of Massachusets has led to 3 Democratic Senators actually being arrested and pretty much forced to resign in the space of one year. Some people would understand that to be indicitave of more systemic corruption within the Democratic Party. Very few people are that plugged into the machine that they want such corruption if it gets their political party more power. But many are begining to understand that is exactly the way the machine works.

So although the hope is slim, it exists as more real hope than Obama has truely given us. That Martha Coakley has huge advantages in the amounts of money she can use to buy herself Ted's Seat in the US Senate may not work to her advantage if it is seen as part of the greater problem of "Buying" a vote. People *are* sick of that reality and the Democrats are the ones right now that are *obviously* selling their votes in the Senate. I do hope there is an upset, but I won't celebrate even if the Polls indicate it is possible until it actually happens.

If it does happen, I know the effect it should have on the Partisan Politics going on in Washington D.C. today. It would send chills down the spines of Democrats who feel secure enough to not worry about including everyone in the process. That Mandate could be more powerful than Obama's election, which was predicated upon "Hope" and "Change" that has evaporated since he got into office, and not just because of the Republican resistance, which most of American now realise is just plain crazy to blame everything on, since the Democrats can demonstratively prove that they don't need Republican Support if they don't want to include any ideas from the Republican side of the aisle!

Posted by: Clearbrook | January 6, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Scott Brown has a chance because Coakley is an idiot and is just trying to run out the clock. I am from Massachusetts and I will vote for Brown. I think it may be closer than many think. The problem here is that the liberal media are in the tank for Coakley. She is a fool. Unlike Palin no one in the press made mention of her lack of foreign policy knowledge. She was asked what were her credentials for voting on issues of foreign policy. She responded that her sister lived in Europe. WOW! With insight like that, we can all feel a lot less safer here in the Bay State. Vote Scott Brown and the GOP in 2010. Please save this country from stupid liberal democraps!

Posted by: william13 | January 5, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

If the voters wanted to, they could send a strong message to Washington D.C. by sending a "No-Name" instead of a "Party-Faithful" to the Senate. IF they did that, they have the power to almost guarentee that the Democrats would have to wake up and truely be bipartisan in their approach.

But I don't hold out much hope for that. The Boston Tea Party was just a fluke, after all...

Posted by: Clearbrook | January 5, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Under current North Dakota law, Gov. Hoeven (R) would make an appointment to fill any vacant Senate seat until the next regularly-scheduled general election. At that point, a candidate is elected and serves for the remainder of the unexpired term, if any.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Dorgan is out. Dems are doomed.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 5, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

nodebris:

You are aware that I am not answering your questions to me.

columbiaheights:

The first debate has been scheduled for January 7th.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Also, TomR, if the result is close I think most intelligent progressives will freely admit the significance: voters don't like high unemployment rates.

If the GOP does not clean up in the 2010 mid-term, I wonder if conservatives will admit the significance of that: even given high unemployment, voters still do not trust the GOP enough to return it to national power.

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Send a donation to Scott Brown and help him over the top. This can be the start of the beat down these Statists are going to see in 2010 and 2012. Help drive a stake into the health care bill, cap and trade, amnesty and the other programs trying to be rammed down our throats.

You can donate here:

https://www.icontribute.us/scottbrown

Vote for Scott Brown.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | January 5, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Send a donation to Scott Brown and help him over the top. This can be the start of the beat down these Statists are going to see in 2010 and 2012. Help drive a stake into the health care bill, cap and trade, amnesty and the other programs trying to be rammed down our throats.

You can donate here:

https://www.icontribute.us/scottbrown

Vote for Scott Brown.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | January 5, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

TomR4,

You continue to explain what Rasmussen assumes; not why Rasmussen's assumptions are justified, despite being so out of line with other polls and previous electoral experience.

The atypical set of assumptions that Rasmussen uses is why most poll watchers are adopting a wait-and-see attitude toward there polling, and why many liberals find them slanted.

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Nodebris,

The percentage weights I cited are for the Daily Presidential Tracking poll that has the progressives in a conniption fit.

The weights Rasmussen used for the Massachusetts special election were not published. However, Nate Silver has extrapolated them out to be:

Democrat: 52%
GOP: 21%
Unaffiliated: 27%

Essentially the independents are all breaking towards Brown. This mirrors what happened in the VA and NJ governor cases. Coakley will still likely win but if the margins is close, the Democrats with common sense will have a reason to be concerned. I don't think the progressives will be able to admit the significance of a close race.

Posted by: TomR4 | January 5, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

So your contention, jaked, is that the huge margin was an anomaly for Massachusetts?

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I hope she loses cause she refuses to debate. That is just lame. If you are running for an office, people have a right to know how your views will affect how you make decisions in that office.

Posted by: columbiaheights | January 5, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I almost feel sorry for Obama now - HOW MANY TIMES HAS HE TRIED TO GET THIS TERRORISM THING RIGHT NOW ???


It is almost painful to watch.


It's like he keeps on going out there, trying to get it right, and it never works.


It's almost two weeks ago - it was last year, two holidays ago - AND OBAMA IS STILL TRYING TO GET HIS STANCE ON TERRORISM RIGHT.

Is anyone listening anymore?


We get it, you are soft on terrorism, and you are now trying to pretend that you just didn't release a bunch of terrorists to Yemen because you were about to lose a motion in court.


It is just too painful to watch.

Obama - YOU HAVE TO LISTEN - Presidential Statements on Terrorism are not something you try again, and again, and again until you get it right - and then you don't get it right, and you try it again, and again and again.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 5, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Yes, nodebris, the significance was that the GOP candidate (an expert in security and anti-terrorism) Jeff Beatty, was damaged by George Bush.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

TomR4,

Well ok. But here are the 2008 voter registration breakdowns in Mass:

Dem: 36.95%
GOP: 11.62%
Unenrolled: 50.75%

And in the 2008 campaign, Kerry beat his GOP opponent by better than 2-to-1.

Do you see the significance of that?

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

FWIW: the "Libertarian" candidate is technically running as a member of the "Liberty Party" AND his name just happens to be "Joseph Kennedy" (he may get more DEMOCRATS to vote for him instead of Coakley ; )

http://joekennedyforsenate.com/

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

We'll see on the 19th.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

'blade-
per Wirro's post at 1:56; if primary voters are indicative of participation in the special, Coakley wins easily.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 5, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The progressives who are attacking Rasmussen for favoring the GOP are doing so based on ignorance. He has always documented how he weights his sample, which is based on likely voters on several preceding weeks. The current weighting is as follows:

Democrats 37.1%
Republicans 32.4%
Unaffiliated 30.5%

For you progressives out there in a state of denial, that means out of 100 people polled, Rasmussen polls 37 Democrats for every 32 Republicans.

Do you comprehend the significance of that?

Posted by: TomR4 | January 5, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this is the long-delayed justice for Mary Jo Kopechne?

Posted by: NeverLeft | January 5, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

If you seriously believe Scott Brown has a snowball's chance in h*** of winning against Martha Coakley, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale that you should take a look at.

The final margin may be in the 70-30 range. Why? Because Brown has none of the attributes of Massachusetts Republicans who have actually won statewide contests, including Mitt Romney who only "discovered" how conservative he was when he decided to pursue national office.

Brown is a photogenically blessed candidate who posed in the raw for Cosmopolitan back in the day. If this were a beauty contest, he might win. But it isn't. Martha has the advantage because of her record of actually getting things done.

Posted by: morehallbob | January 5, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Rasmussen only allows approve or disapprove. Effectively, everyone who doesn't approve of Obama's performance then counts as disapprove.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 5, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

@bsimon - My guess is it's going to be similar to that of a primary, though with both sides participating. My guess is that with health care on the line, Mass. will stay blue. I don't see parallels to Texas ca. 1960 given that the shift of the south was largely driven by civil rights.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 5, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

For the record, rasmussen had the singular most accurate election prediction. Twice.

For the record he reports obama is circling around the low 40s.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 5, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I'd say the Mass. Senate race will get closer, but never close enough to be in doubt. Coakley will win this race.

Posted by: reason5 | January 5, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

drindl writes
"So Rasmussen has deliberately set up his sample to represent a skewed profile of Massachusetts voters, excluding self-identified 'moderates' who make up almost half of the total voters."


What is the correct profile for modeling a special-election? Do moderates show up? Is there much enthusiasm for Coakley or Brown among moderates? How many people voted in the primary? That may be a good gauge for how many will show up for the special election.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 5, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

If we could see a Reduced Shakespeare summary of Obama's presidency so far, it would read: Dither, dither, speech. Foreign trip, bow, reassure. Seminar, summit. Shoot a jump shot with the guys, throw out the first pitch in mom jeans. Compromise, concede, close the deal. Dither, dither, water down, news conference."

Posted by: Moonbat | January 5, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

On Dec. 8th, 680,000 people (Dems & Ind) in MA voted for a Democratic Senator and only 160,000 (Rep & Ind) voted for a Republican Senator.

If JakeD and timroperco think that in just 5 weeks Scott Brown has made up a 500,000 vote deficit,they've been listening to way too much rightwing radio and should really try getting out more. (And this isn't even taking into account the Libertarian candidate who wasn't in the primary but who will siphon off 5-10% of the Conservative vote in the final).

Posted by: wirro | January 5, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

EVERYONE SHOULD VOTE FOR Scott Brown !!!!!

Posted by: yourmomscalling | January 5, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

mteng -- Rasmussen results always line up nicely with Weekly Standard/Fox News polls, because their sample skews to hyperpartisans. As Nate Silver said:

'OK, here's that Rasmussen poll on the Massachusetts Senate special election. It shows Martha Coakley leading Scott Brown 50-41, a 9-point margin, eerily replicating the expectations of the Democratic strategist who told Dave Weigel: “I’d guess that, being Rasmussen, it’ll have a 10-point race.”

'So Rasmussen's theory on this election, basically, is that the people in the middle won't bother to show up; there are many fewer independents and many fewer moderates in their sample than you usually get in Massachusetts. That could be a good theory, or it could be an artifact of their sample design -- one thing that generally seems true of Rasmussen and some of the IVR pollsters is that they capture a hyper-informed and hyper-partisan electorate.'

So Rasmussen has deliberately set up his sample to represent a skewed profile of Massachusetts voters, excluding self-identified 'moderates' who make up almost half of the total voters.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

timroperco:

Thanks for the post (if you guys can pull it off, I will end my Boston Boycot ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

A very evenhanded piece which ought likely silence those detractors who claim you favour the R.s when your reportage is remarkably bias-free, IMHO.

While I don't find Coakley a particularly appealing candidate, I wonder what is behind all this talk about Scott Brown's come-from-behind chance at securing the seat.

We are, after all, talking about the late Ted Kennedy's seat. Massachusetts would have to be in a--dare I say it?--(Boston) Tea Party mood to boost Brown into a win, although it might not be the landslide Coakley expects, either.

Brown certainly couldn't have got much help from Curt Schilling's near-incoherent endosement on his blog. Can a Chuck Norris endorsement be far behind?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | January 5, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The "results of a private poll conducted last week by a reputable non-partisan firm" where Coakley is up by 11:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2010/01/poll_republican_scott_brown_tr_1.asp

Don't know who the pollster is, but the article is in the Weekly Standard, FWIW.

Posted by: mnteng | January 5, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

'In nearly Senate race since the 1970s -- largely the Kennedy and Kerry era -- the Republican has averaged about 38% of the vote. There's a strong base that turns out simply to vote against Kennedy and Kerry. Scott Brown can probably count on this solid 38% just by being on the ballot.'

perfect illustration of the Party of No.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

This is a curious question -- why is the WaPo edit board pushing the aboliton of Social Security and Medicare agenda of billionaire peter g. peterson, and why is the ombudsman refusing to respond to to the fact that the 'Fiscal Times' is nothing but is megaphone?"

Today (Jan. 4) 21 policy experts sent a letter (below) to Washington Post Board Chairman Donald Graham, requesting a meeting. Why? Because we've gotten no response to our protest letter to The Washington Post's ombudsman.

In that earlier letter we demanded an explanation for publication by the Post of an article about the U.S. federal deficit by The Fiscal Times, a "news content provider" founded and financed by Wall Street billionaire Peter G. Peterson, whose budget-cutting ideology promotes cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

The group noted that while The Fiscal Times article focused on the Peterson-promoted Conrad-Gregg budget commission—and quoted several Peterson-supported "experts"—it ignored the views of those who oppose that approach to the deficit, including a coaltion of 40 groups representing workers, women, seniors and others.

Letter link:
http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2010010104/fiscal-times-scandal-20-experts-seek-meeting-wapost-chair-don-graham

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I am writing as a resident and voter in Massachusetts. Despite this state's sad reputation as a solid left-wing slam-dunk, history shows things don't always work out that way.

Ed King was a Democrat, but a conservative who defeated Dukakis in the 1978 primary. His main legacy -- Prop 2 1/2 -- has held local property tax increases to 2.5 percent to this day and really irritates liberal big spenders at the local level. In 1990, Republican Bill Weld was elected Governor and ended the state's borrowing, controlled Medicaid spending, reduced property taxes and balanced seven budgets in a row. He was easily re-elected in 1994, and was followed by three more Republican Governors -- Paul Cellucci, Jane Swift, and Mitt Romney. (Swift was Lt. Governor and moved up when Cellucci became Ambassador to Canada). While their various terms had mixed results, the statewide election of three Republican Governors indicates the voters of this state aren't 100% robotic slaves to Democrats. Even the current Democrat Governor is now in deep doo-doo with residents.

In nearly Senate race since the 1970s -- largely the Kennedy and Kerry era -- the Republican has averaged about 38% of the vote. There's a strong base that turns out simply to vote against Kennedy and Kerry. Scott Brown can probably count on this solid 38% just by being on the ballot. Given the economy and rancor that exists in a state that just increased sales taxes, health-care taxes, and never stops growing, I sense this open race could be a huge opportunity for a Republican break-through.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley is a lackluster candidate running a lackluster campaign, and is largely unknown. I see no groundswell for her, no great enthusiasm. She won 47% in a four-way primary, but only about 10 percent of Democrat voters turned out. Unenrolled voters (no party declaration) lean heavily against her. Her warchest may pull her through, and it would be truly heart-breaking is to see Scott Brown lose by just one or two percentage points simply due to a lack of campaign money.

People forget, but when Lyndon Baines Johnson left the Senate to become JFK's Vice President, his replacement was a Republican, John Tower. That was a huge upset in diehard Democrat Texas, yet no fluke -- Tower went on to serve 35 years. My hope is, Scott Brown will mark the beginning of the end of the long reign of Democrat control in this state.

Posted by: timroperco | January 5, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Massachusetts Republicans support applying market-based solutions to achieve greater healthcare access, lower patient costs, and improve quality of care."

There are no market-based solutions for any of this, since all the market is interested in is ever greater profits. The 'market' controls it all now -- all your health care decisions. Given them greater power means less access, higher cost, and deteriorating care, which we are already seeing.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, how about what politico is reporting re: the florida GOP chairmanship? That's a tad more interesting than speculating about whether a Democrat will carry Massachusetts.

Posted by: nodebris | January 5, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"Every citizen should have access to affordable healthcare without excessive government intrusion or control. Massachusetts Republicans support applying market-based solutions to achieve greater healthcare access, lower patient costs, and improve quality of care."

http://www.massgop.com/index.php?id=135

http://barackobamaexperiment.com/

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"Why, thank you for that acknowledgement, CC. The fact is, Scott Rasmussen has been on the RNC payroll several times. He has not recieived money from Democrats."

Drindl, did you read the 538 blog entries on whether Rasmussen is Republican? One of the points that Nate Silver makes is that he makes a distinction between a poll commissioned by a partisan group and a pollster who has had partisan clients. He will ignore individual partisan sponsored polls, but won't necessarily ignore a pollster who has had partisan clients.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 5, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

ddawd writes
"I really recommend reading the two previous postings on Rassmussen's bias as well. (He's not saying they're biased. Just exploring the question)"

I read the politico story last night, which explained the issue fairly well. i.e. Rasmussen is using a likely voter screen, even when polling on approval ratings & being 10 months from election day. Ok, that's one way to do it, as long as consumers are aware of that caveat, the data is relevant. In any case, the polls are irrelevant in terms of pinpointing someone's 'approval rating', but are useful in showing trends. In that regard, Rasmussen is as relevant as Gallup, given that both can show changes in opinion over time, which is useful. Worrying about (or celebrating, as the case may be) the exact number is missing the point.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 5, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1:

I believe the MA GOP are making the case that Romneycare is broken, and that the nation can't afford anymore experiments.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

" If all 490,000 Republicans (and the Independents who are against Obamacare) actually voted for Brown, he would win."


Obamacare is irrelevant in MA, as they already have Romneycare.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 5, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"New numbers out of Rasmussen -- an automated polling firm that Democrats believe heavily favors the GOP -"

Why, thank you for that acknowledgement, CC. The fact is, Scott Rasmussen has been on the RNC payroll several times. He has not recieived money from Democrats.

"The surveys seem to exist solely to advance GOP talking points. Meaning, Rasmussen at times appears to function less as a legitimate polling firm and more as the polling wing of the RNC. Today's new survey about Sarah Palin and the repercussions of her "No mas" moment is a perfectly example.

I have not problem with the actual results per se, which are that 40 percent of Republicans think her quitting the Alaska governorship will hurt her chances to run for the White House in 2012. The bizarre part is that the Rasmussen poll only asks Republican voters their opinion about Palin. Independents and Democrats are of no interest to the GOP-centric Rasmussen. (Just my hunch, but if those two voter groups had been included, I'm guessing the final results would have between 70-80 percent of voters think Palin's career move was a bad one.)

What kind of polling firm, while trying to take the country's temperature about politics, only questions Republicans?

Meanwhile, in its write-up Rasmussen emphasized the RNC talking points about how Palin has been subjected to "relentless and generally hostile media coverage." (So the polling firm is now in the media criticism business?) Yet Rasmussen only points to a late-night comedian for proof of "hostile media coverage."

and...

There's are reasons most major news outlets don't often mention a Rasmussen poll. One reason is because their questions are designed to elicit responses that skew heavily to the right.

The second reason is that Rasmussen doesn't even use live operators or ask for voice responses. They robo-call their phone list sample, which is weighted more heavily to Republican households than the general demographic, and they tabulate based on phone keypad responses. There's no quality control in that polling - does voice mail or a fax machine produce tones that Rasmussen counts as "yes" responses? Nobody knows. Does no response produce a "yes" response? Nobody knows.

We do know that they're an outlier that always produces results that guarantee favorable Fox News coverage and always agree with the GOP talking points of the moment.

That's a little too coincidental for most news organizations to take seriously.


Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

It's not going to happen, but if she loses, the democrats lose their 60 votes in the Senate.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 5, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Or, the answer to the headline could be "On the calendar? Yes!"

Posted by: margaretmeyers | January 5, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The Catholic Church in Massachusetts should endorse Brown too ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/01/rassachusetts.html

On the Rassmussen poll.

I really recommend reading the two previous postings on Rassmussen's bias as well. (He's not saying they're biased. Just exploring the question)

Posted by: DDAWD | January 5, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Polling is difficult for the reasons stated, but don't forget the incentives out there. If all 490,000 Republicans (and the Independents who are against Obamacare) actually voted for Brown, he would win. Hopefully, the compromise bill is not finalized today or anytime before the Special Election on the 19th. After that, there's little remaining hope to stopping it.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Brown won't break 35% especially once Coakley goes on TV and starts putting her ground game into effect. She will have a very positive ad campaign which won't even mention her opponent.
It is interesting that the GOP thinks that if they get within single digits that counts as a win. Need I remind them that the governor before Deval Patrick was a republican. Thats a lot of moving the goal posts if you ask me.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 5, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

And the answer to the headline would be "Not particularly."

Posted by: margaretmeyers | January 5, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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