Tomorrow, January 19th, residents in Massachusetts will go to the polls to elect a new US Senator to fill the vacancy left by the death of the Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy. The election, once thought to be an easy victory for Democratic Attorneys General Martha Coakley, has turned into a fight with Republican State Senator Scott Brown. The race has become so close that the Coakley campaign is hoping that a last minuet Sunday campaign visit by President Obama will pull her across this finish as a victor.
Recent polls suggest that Brown has a slight lead over Coakley, however in the heavily Democratic leaning Bay State no one is sure if these leads are enough to withstand the Democratic machine. What is sure certain is that Tuesday’s election will be one for the ages.
Right now all the wind is behind Brown’s back as veteran independent political polling pendant Charlie Cook now says that Brown is now the favorite. On his Web site Cook say, “Given the vagaries of voter turnout, particularly in lower participation level special elections, this race could still go either way, but we put a finger on the scale for Brown.”
This sentiment has even caused Obama advisors to believe that Coakley will lose to Brown. According to CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry “Multiple advisers to President Obama have privately told party officials that they believe Democrat Martha Coakley is going to lose Tuesday’s special election…”
While the polls show that Brown would win the election if it were held today I would be extremely cautious with optimism if I were in the Brown camp. Massachusetts hasn’t had a Republican US Senator since 1979. It’s with that fact alone that makes this race not only interesting, but also hard to predict.
The enthusiasm is clearly more clear on the Republican side of the electorate, one reason for President Obama’s visit yesterday. If the Democratic machine turns out the voters like they have in the past, then Coakley has a chance to pullout a victory with a Hail Mary.
What might prevent a Hail Mary is the idiotic mistakes that Coakley has made on the campaign trail, the most recent being that she called Boston Red Sox’s legend Curt Schilling a Yankee fan. While this might not seem like a big deal, it shows how out of touch Coakley is with the average voter. She even mocked Brown for standing out in the cold to meet voters in front of Fenway Stadium.
All in all, I predict that after Tuesday’s special election the GOP will have 41 votes in the Senate. After looking at all the data I see Brown breaking through and winning with between 4 and 5 percent of the vote, anything more would add a twist of the knife of defeat for Coakley.
*** Update Jan 18, 1:13PM ***
The nasty weather that is predicted for tomorrow will be a factor in the outcome of the election. This is where the enthusiasm behind Brown will help in his efforts to breakthrough.
****Update Jan 18, 4:31PM****
Politico has a new poll out reflecting that Coakley’s numbers are in “free fall”.
*****Update Jan 18, 5:50PM*****
After looking further into the polling numbers I am revising my prediction for tomorrow with Brown still winning, but with a greater margin between 6-8%.