It's Scott Brown vs. Martha Coakley for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat
Talk about game changers. Pigs can surely fly, if a Republican can win Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in deep blue Massachusetts against one of the state's highest-profile Democrats, Attorney General Martha Coakley. It just might happen in the January 9th special election, if the one and only public poll of the race showing Coakley ahead by only 50% to 41% is right:
State Attorney General Martha Coakley holds a nine-point lead over her Republican rival, state Senator Scott Brown, in Massachusetts’ special U.S. Senate election to fill the seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds Coakley ahead of Brown 50% to 41%. One percent (1%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided
Brown's surprising strength is coming mostly from independent voters:
Both candidates get better than 70% of the vote from members of their respective parties, but Brown leads 65% to 21% among voters not affiliated with either of the major parties. In Massachusetts, however, Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans and it is very difficult for the GOP to compete except in special circumstances. Eight percent (8%) of Democrats remain undecided while just 3% of Republicans are in that category.
Brown is a relative unknown, compared to Coakley, but that may be an advantage in stirring enough enthusiasm to get his voters to the polls:
Twenty-one percent (21%) of those likely to vote in the special election have a very favorable opinion of Coakley, while 22% have a Very Unfavorable view.
For Brown, the numbers are 25% very favorable and 5% very unfavorable.
Special elections are typically decided by who shows up to vote and it is clear from the data that Brown’s supporters are more enthusiastic. In fact, among those who are absolutely certain they will vote, Brown pulls to within two points of Coakley. That suggests a very low turnout will help the Republican and a higher turnout is better for the Democrat.
If Brown wins, the Senate Democrats will no longer have the magic 60 votes to block filibusters. Naturally, that has the conservative blogosphere excited about his candidacy. Blogger William Jacobson has long been out in front pushing Brown's campaign. Now, it's gone viral on the right and the left, as you can see here, here, here and here.
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