Jan 17 2010
Late last night some more information trickled out regarding the state of the MA Special Election race between Martha Coakley (D) and Scott Brown (R). One of the more interesting articles was this one in the Boston Globe regarding polls, independents and turnout models:
Independent voters in Massachusetts are an unpredictable breed and downright ornery when times are bad. On Tuesday, they will determine who will be the stateâ€™s next US senator in a race too close to call, capturing the nationâ€™s attention because the fate of a national health care overhaul hangs in the balance.
Emphasis mine. The Boston Globe had one of the few early polls showing a huge Coakley lead (15%). In this article they admit their poll was THE ONLY poll where Coakley was wining independents. Clearly they have changed their tune since now the are calling the race a toss up. But they are changing that tune a bit grudgingly. Either way, forget that 15% Coakley lead.
What I also found interesting was their party affiliation numbers for MA, which are very close to the ones that I have been usingÂ from an RCP article on the November elections (37D-13R-49I):
Of the stateâ€™s 4.1 million registered voters, more than 37 percent are Democrats, 11.4 percent are Republicans, and about 51 percent are unenrolled.
This is an incredible number for independents because it means as long as Brown wins the independents by large margins, and they Â come out in representative numbers, Coakley cannot win. This is simply because the combination of I and R = 62.4%. No amount of Democrat turnout (37%) can overwhelm that edge in shear numbers. The R’s and I’s would need to sit out in droves – and that is not what is happening in the state.
As the two candidates running in the special Senate election here barnstormed across the state Saturday, the enthusiasm gap between the two parties was on vivid display.
With three days until Bay State voters go to the polls to decide whether Democrats will retain their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the momentum plainly is with the GOP.
Heâ€™s [Brown] drawing crowds rarely seen by Republicans in this state and seems to have more organic support than Coakley, an impression underscored by the imperfect measurement of yard signs spotted for the Republican (many) and the Democrat (none) along the South Shore and on the Cape.
If lawn sings were votes this would be over. And it may be. There is no indication of fire on the Democrats’ side. I loved this picture someone got of what appear to be paid volunteers at a Coakley event, compared to crowds swamping Brown:
What President Obama and the Dems need to be worried about is not Health Care, but did they perform so badly and move so far left over the last year that the Obama ‘Hope and Change” magic has be stripped from them and is now being bequeathed to their competitors (whoever the competitor is). That would be the end of the Obama administration doing big things in DC – and that alone may be enough of a reason to switch to the opposition.
Anyway, back to some late poll indications. First, Steve Kornacki has an update from the Coakley campaign on their internal poll picture:
Coakley’s internal poll for Friday night showed Republican Scott Brown leading by two points, 47 to 45 percent. Her campaign’s three-night average for Friday, Thursday and Wednesday is the same — a 47 to 45 lead for Brown.
Who knows how good this is because we don’t know the turnout model assumptions. My guess is this is one of their more optimistic scenarios.
PPP is polling again this weekend and will have their final numbers out tonight, right now it is a toss up race:
The electorate is becoming more Democratic. Last weekend we found it at Obama +16 and now we see it at Obama +20. So all the efforts to get the party base more engaged in the election are paying off.
Not necessarily. This could be Democrat voters who are jumping to Brown claiming they are still ‘in the fold’ to pollsters. To give up on Hope and Change and Obama is not easy for Obama voters, they have a lot of pride and emotion tied into him. But they could be all for sending a message.
Balancing that out to some extent though is that we’re now seeing Brown win about 19% of the Obama vote, in comparison to 15% on our poll last week.
Like I said, support for Obama is not support for Coakley.
If Brown is pulling 20% of the already small number of Dems and nearly all the Reps with 60% of the Indies Coakley’s loss is all but assured. If we use the Globe’s affiliation numbers that gives Brown 48-45 (which is what all the latest polls show, including Coakley’s internals).
This is normal turnout. But if we dial up the R energy by 4 points and pull those from the Dems we get Brown by 51-42%. It takes very little change in turn out to shift this race into a landslide. However, the reverse is not true. It takes ridiculous turn out models for Coakley to squeak out a win. The odds are completely against Coakley.
PPP predicts they will see a clear leader tonight, and for good reason – there are just too many unknowns for a purely mathematical answer with high statistical confidence:
If today’s interviews hold up through tomorrow I don’t think we’re going to be able to make a clear prediction of the winner in our final poll- still too close.
Polls cannot factor in intangibles, but they are out there. I am just trying to determine how big the win could be.
Democrat’s trying to take solace in this race still being a toss up need to wake up and remember this race should not have even been close. They need to respect the rising tide of opposition coming their way.
And both parties need to remember that independent centrist decide elections. It is not politically sound to lock them out, give them false promises, and then ask them to come back for more insults if you want to lead in this nation.
Update: It is becoming clear to many that the math is just not there for a Coakley win, not even when faced with President Obama’s political magic:
With the political winds at the back of Republican Scott Brown, pollsters tracking the Massachusetts Senate race are skeptical that President Obamaâ€™s Boston rally on Sunday will be enough to put Democrat Martha Coakley over the top.
â€œShe needs to narrow that gap in terms of whoâ€™s showing up if sheâ€™s going to pull it out on Tuesday. A huge factor in New Jersey and especially Virginia last year was that Republicans were much more interested in the election much earlier than Democrats.â€
Exit polls in both states showed independents, who backed Obama in 2008, went with the Republican candidate in 2009.
The dems are starting to wake up to the obvious – NJ and VA were not flukes. They were the first waves of a political tsunami their own failed liberal policies and arrogant attitudes created. This was not caused by the GOP cheerleaders or Scott Brown, they are just hitching a ride on the wave. I know, because they were very coming to the realization the wave was even building.
That is because this is a wave anger and opposition of the independent centrists. And it is a big one.
Update: On the ground it looks like nothing the experienced political hands have ever seen before – truly historic. H/T reader Paul In Boston
Update: Ed Morrissey does some turn out model analyses as well.