My feelings about the chances of a GOP win here are the same as my feelings were about the chances of a Red Sox world championship before 2004: I’ll believe it when I see it.
But I did see it, didn’t I?
-At this point a plurality of those planning to turn out oppose the health care bill. The massive enthusiasm gap we saw in Virginia is playing itself out in Massachusetts as well. Republican voters are fired up and they’re going to turn out. Martha Coakley needs to have a coherent message up on the air over the last ten days that her election is critical to health care passing and Ted Kennedy’s legacy- right now Democrats in the state are not feeling a sense of urgency.
-Scott Brown’s favorables are up around 60%, a product of his having had the airwaves to himself for the last week. By comparison Bob McDonnell’s were at 55% right before his election and Chris Christie’s were only at 43%. Coakley’s campaign or outside groups need to tie Brown’s image to national Republicans and knock him down a notch over the final week of the campaign.
This has become a losable race for Democrats- but it could also be easily winnable if Coakley gets her act together for the last week of the campaign.
Obligatory caveats: PPP got the NY-23 race wildly wrong and doesn’t offer any hard numbers yet to illustrate the trends it’s seeing here. Bear in mind too that pollsters from both sides of the aisle have an incentive to spin things Brown’s way. His only chance of winning is to have Republican turnout hugely outnumber Democratic turnout; every poll that shows him doing well fuels hope on the right, which motivates GOP voters, and fuels terror on the left, which motivates Dem voters not to be complacent about the likelihood of victory by staying home. In a post a few days ago, lefty Nate Silver pegged Coakley’s lead as probably around 15 points — before sternly warning readers never to take a special election for granted and insisting he wouldn’t be surprised to see the vote count last all night, natch. Every time Murtha runs for reelection, there’s inevitably some poll that excites righties by showing his challenger closer than expected, and every time he ends up blowing them out in the end. That’s what I suspect will happen here, but since it is after all a turnout game, make sure you circulate the PPP data to any conservative or independent friends you might have in Massachusetts who need firing up. Given the stakes, a Brown upset would be the biggest GOP congressional victory since … when, exactly? ’94?
You’ll find further anecdotal evidence that the Democrats are really, truly worried about this race at Legal Insurrection. I wonder how close it would have to get before every Catholic in the state gets a framed photo of Teddy and a single red rose in the mail courtesy of the DNC.
Update: Oh my. Maybe Brown is for real.
The notion of a Republican winning Ted Kennedy’s seat remains unlikely, despite (or perhaps because of) the recent hubbub around the race.
But it’s a real enough possibility that Democrats have started to consider the question. There are, it appears, two ways health care reform could still pass, in theory, after a victory by state Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts a week from Tuesday.
The first is simple, if controversial: Get it through between the time the polls close and the new senator is sworn in…
The second path is a different kind of heavy lift. The Senate does not, in fact, need to act on the bill anymore. It has already passed a version. With Brown seated, the White House could prevail upon House Democrats to pass the Senate bill as written…