That is why I find it hard to believe that Republican State Senator Scott Brown is within striking distance of snatching Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat from incumbent State Attorney General, Democrat Martha Coakley.
The astonishment has little to do with the caliber of the candidates involved. Brown seems to be a right of center Republican with a good campaign and good ideas that are getting traction among Bay State voters. Coakley is not bad either…..for a liberal. She is nothing special and far to the left, but that is what Massachusetts often elects. This is a state where Barack Obama won with a plurality of 26%.
You don’t get much bluer than that.
My stunned interest in the Massachusetts special election comes from the fact that Democrats are finding themselves struggling to keep Ted Kennedy’s seat in their hands. How true that is questionable. The existing uncertainty stems from two separate, but both partisan, polls. One came from Public Policy Polling or PPP and the other from the Boston Globe. The Boston Globe had Coakley ahead by 15%. That sounds about right to me. But PPP, a Democrat polling outfit found Scott Brown ahead of Coakley by 1%.
This prompted me to examine the conditions which the two polls were conducted under
and upon my review, it was clear that the PPP poll was conducted under conditions that would make it more reliable.
The Globe called far more Democrats than the actual Democrat to Republican ration is. They also called only about 90 Independents while PPP called almost 300 independent voters. The Globe called a much smaller sampling of voters overall than did PPP, not just fewer Independents. And a smaller sampling makes for a greater margin of error. The Globe also used live callers. PPP used automated calls, which are more standardized and typically receive and record responses more accurately.
For these reasons, I believe the PPP survey is showing a more accurate picture than is the Globe. However I still find Brown’s leads hard to believe.
It is not unfathomable, just hard to imagine, at least in Massachusetts.
When you look deeper though, you can see how Brown just might be closing in.
First of all, this a special election and they are a different breed. Special elections are not the draw that general elections are. Add to that the buyers remorse that Massachusetts voters seem to be suffering from and you have a Democrat electorate that is unenthused about this election. Many voters in the Bay State are not too happy with the “hope” and “change” that President Obama sold them in 2008. Evidence of that exist in the fact that here, where President Obama won the presidential election with a 26% plurality in 2008, in 2010 his favorability ratings are now at 44%.
A majority of Massachusetts residents are also not happy with the existing version of the Democrats top agenda item, healthcare reform.
All of this is a burden upon Democrat Martha Coakley that is suppressing her turnout in an already typically low turnout type of election. And don’t forget, this election is being held on January 19th. In Boston. Where the dead of winter, freezing temperatures do not exactly make a trip to the polls very convenient.
I’ll tell you right now, if in addition to cold temperatures, it snows on that day too, Scott Brown is probably in like Flynn.
Democrats are not excited. They are not excited by Moakley who has made a number of missteps. And they are not happy with Democrats in general. This same scenario played out in New Jersey and Virginia this past Fall when uninterested Democrats stayed at home while angry Tea Party protestors and Republicans went out to vote in droves.
Republicans are angry and anger is a great source of motivation. It will surely be enough to get a great many Republicans out to the polls regardless of how cold the winds blow or high the snow gets on January 19th.
Another factor at play here is the gap between Coakley and Brown among Independent voters. Independent voters are overwhelmingly moving toward Brown.
All of these factors, including a definite established trend of momentum swinging in Scott Brown’s favor, are turning what was once seen as no-brainer for Democrats, into a nail biter. Such is why they will be bringing the big guns in…..B.J. Clinton.
Governor-deject Jon Corzine of New Jersey tried a similar tactic. He tried to run with President Obama. His billboards, his commercials, his literature, all had him standing with President Obama. President Obama even came to New Jersey on three separate occasions to campaign throughout the state with Corzine.
It didn’t work.
Democrats are just not happy. They liked the script that they heard in 2008, but the actual play sucks and they just don’t want to be a part of it.
Will Scott Brown pull this off in the end?
I honestly can’t say. There are just too many variables right now. But a trend is developing and the possibility is there And that in and of itself is a miracle.
The mere fact that the seat held by Ted Kennedy, for over four decades, may fall into Republican hands is something that no one would have believed just a few weeks ago.
What makes it even more surprising is Scott Brown himself.
As a state senator, his record seems to be solid and stable. He is somewhat conservative, especially by Massachusetts standards. He is well spoken and outgoing and dring. That all would not appear to be very unusual for a Republican candidate, but that is all that is usual when it comes to Scott Brown.
Back in 1982, at the age of 22, long before he ever thought he might be Ted Kennedy’s successor, he appeared in Cosmo…..naked,……with staples in his bellybutton, under a heading declaring him to be the Sexiest Man of the Year. That is not exactly something you would expect from a Republican and it may not be a side that we need to see in our representatives but it certainly proves that Scott Brown is not your typical Republican.
Nor is his family.
One of Scott’s biggest supporters is his daughter Ayla, who at a young age, has found herself a singing career.
In 2006, Ayla Brown’s talented voice got her a slot on the popular “American Idol” television show. She was a solid contestant who advanced on the show for several weeks until she was cut after making it to the final 16 contestants.
As is the case with many American Idol runner-ups, she still got her shot and soon found herself signing an exclusive record and distribution contract.
So as you can see, the Browns are anything but your typical, stodgy, conservative family. You might even say that they are unconventional. Which is exactly why this special election in dark blue Democrat Massachusetts might just produce some unconventional Republican red results. In the end , Massachusetts voters may end up preferring Senator Centerfold’s stimulus package to the one that his opponents party came up with in Washington, D.C..