Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tightening Senate race in Mass.

The polls are getting interesting in Mass., as noted on the Phoenix's David Bernstein's blog recently: ["Confirmation Of Contradiction"].
Personally, I think the easy money is on Coakley to win. I think the gender thing is going to be big this time around, with even moderates saying, You know, Massachusetts should really have a woman in there after all these years ...
But as I told Samantha Clemens yesterday and mentioned elsewhere online, I don't think it will be a 40-plus percent blowout for Coakley. The other three didn't land any real blows against why Coakley can't or shouldn't be the Senator. The final result is probably going to be between 20 and 30 percent for all the candidates (of course, what do I know, I predicted that Stephen Lynch would be the new Senator from Massachusetts months ago ...).
The other thing is this: Had the race been longer or had Sen. Kennedy stepped down earlier before he passed on, allowing for a special election to be held in November instead of December, I think Alan Khazei would win. It is clear that he has the vision thing going on, a pretty good ground organization, and an interesting story to tell about his life. Had he just had a bit more time ...
If Coakley wins the primary, she wins the final. Republican Scott Brown just doesn't bring enough to the table. Coakley can also reverse the left-wing course and talk about how she has been tough on crime and corruption. If one of the other three wins the primary, Brown has a slim shot, especially if he tones down the conservatism and goes moderate. The Democrats have painted themselves in such a corner to win the primary that many voters will be turned off by them in the final. It's important to remember that while liberals tend to win the most statewide in Massachusetts, the bulk of the voters are moderate to conservative. The GOP controls about 14 percent of the state. When combined with the 52 percent of voters who are unenrolled - the great majority of them moderate to conservative (the liberals are already involved in the Democrat Party) - there are votes there to be harvested for Brown. This coalition is how Romney, Cellucci, and Weld were able to win the corner office. It's why Gov. Deval Patrick's poll numbers are in the basement.
However, whoever wins the primary, the wild card will be how many votes independent (very libertarian) Joe Kennedy squeaks out - due to his name. Will little old ladies get confused and pull a lever for Joe Kennedy?

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