Am I hitting the New Year’s Eve cheer a little early? I wasn’t aware that you could hit the New Year’s Eve cheer too early, but, no, I’m sober (at this moment) as a judge (a sober judge).
Could n Republican take Ted’s seat? Some are beginning to wonder:
Hey, folks, I’d love to tell you a Republican win is well within reach in Massachusetts. But the Democrat is fairly well-known and has run statewide before, the Republican is relatively little-known, and, as noted, Democrats start with a big advantage in the pool of possible voters.
Still, two readers make the case for optimism. From a reader in Cambridge:
I’m not saying you’re wrong, but you cannot believe the number of Democrats that I’ve talked to over the last month who intend to vote for him. Martha Coakley is not a formidable candidate by any stretch of the imagination. She is running solely on the “D” next to her name. It will be interesting to see what happens if and when a poll comes out showing Brown within 10%. If that does come to pass, I would hope that the national party would blitz the state over the final two weeks prior to the election.
And this case, which almost persuades me, from another reader in state:
First, It’s a special election. The few times Republicans have won elections in Massachusetts, it has been in special elections.
Second, the number of votes there are in the Democratic Primary is usually the high-water mark of what the Democrat will get. In 2001 special congressional election, Steven Lynch got more votes in the Democratic Primary than he received in the General Election. Fewer people voted for Nikki Tsongas in 2007 in the general than voted in the Democratic Primary.
Third, Coakley has basically shut-down and set the cruise control. She thinks she’s already won. Her base is no longer motivated. Scott is Senator 41. Obama’s Agenda screeches to a halt if Scott is elected . . .
All reasonable arguments, all backed by fact.
And this guy crunches some very interesting numbers:
[I]n the absence of any polling done in the past month, I embarked on a little thought experiment. One of the interesting things about the 2009 Governor’s races was how similar the movements in the states’ electorates were. In Virginia, the Republicans’ share of the electorate increased by 12% from 2008 to 2009; in New Jersey it was 10%. In Virginia, Democrats were at about 84% of their 2009 level; in New Jersey it was 93%.
In both states, the Democrats’ share of the Republican vote dropped by about 50% (50% in Virginia, 56% in New Jersey), and their share of the Independent vote dropped about 66%. The Democrats’ share of the Democratic vote was pretty stable; up 1% in Virginia and up 2% in New Jersey.
So what if we see a similar trend going into Massachusetts in 2010? Let me say before I go forward with this that I developed this methodology before I’d looked closely at any of the numbers, and without any real understanding of how the outcome would play out. I was kinda surprised.
In any event, if we take a 38%D, 19%R, 42%I electorate and have Coakley win 90% of the Democrats, 4% of Republicans and 38% of Independents, we come out with an exceedingly close 51.06-48.9% Coakley win. I did not expect that.
I skipped the minutiae, and there are plenty of caveats, but you get the point.
Let me give you my own take. I’ve heard Scott Brown on a number of local radio shows over the last couple of years, commenting as the nearly sole sane member of the Massachusetts General Court (our fancy name for the legislature). Scandal after Democratic scandal, sleazy maneuver after sleazy Democratic maneuver, Scott has appeared on Howie Carr’s or Michael Graham’s shows to decry the abuses of the one-party state. And he’s been on one or the other almost every day since the campaign started. He’s not flashy, he’s not eloquent, but he’s exceedingly decent.
Someone very smart and very gifted is advising his campaign. He produced only two commercials in the primary, but both were strong and memorable. They didn’t cost him a lot to make or run, but they did the trick.
And he’s doing it again:
Talk about the audacity of hope!
People are not enthused by this election, or by the machinations that led to it (well chronicled by our own humble selves). If enthusiasm means turnout, Brown could have a real chance. Coakley may have a record to run on, but more importantly, Brown has her record to run against. So far, he hasn’t done so, preferring to highlight their differences, not merely her deficiencies. Not going negative is probably prudent; she’s already played the victim card in the few debates she’s agreed to.
If things get too close, they’ll fire up the Kennedy machine, and we’ll have more oversized incisors in our faces than a horse dentist. But Brown is good looking (his family even more so), confident, a military man, and, not least, as far from the usual suspects as one could possibly imagine in this state (with fairly centrist stances on some social issues). I’m going to vote for him, I’m going to give him money, and I’m going to work for him.