Scott Brown Takes The Lead in Massachusetts

Via E.D. Kain I learn that Scott Brown has taken the lead in the Massachusetts special election in a recent poll:

The poll shows Brown, a state senator from Wrentham, besting Coakley, the state’s attorney general, by 50 percent to 46 percent, the first major survey to show Brown in the lead. Unenrolled long-shot Joseph L. Kennedy, an information technology executive with no relation to the famous family, gets 3 percent of the vote. Only 1 percent of voters were undecided.

Paleologos said bellweather models show high numbers of independent voters turning out on election day, which benefits Brown, who has 65 percent of that bloc compared to Coakley’s 30 percent. Kennedy earns just 3 percent of the independent vote, and 1 percent are undecided.

Given the 4.4-point margin of error, the poll shows Coakley could win the race, Paleologos said.

The special election in Massachusetts has been interesting to watch. During his well-run campaign, Scott Brown has nimbly managed to raise lots of money and avoid saying or doing anything stupid. In fact, he doesn’t have to say much at all, because I’m pretty sure that every time Martha Coakley opens her mouth, Brown gains in the polls. Which makes it tough to say if her choice to barely campaign is a good idea or a bad one.

Still, this could be quite a nailbiter, as Coakley still has the power of inertia on her side. This is especially the case as the Democratic base in Massachusetts is getting riled up over the prospect of Brown’s election effectively killing healthcare reform. The most interesting wrinkle in this election will come if the Senate and the House manage to come up with compromise legislation before Tuesday. In which case, I think Brown might be a shoo-in.

The two things of interest coming out of this election, though, is the fact that Brown is being propelled by a lot of out-of-state money by the various tea party organizations, which are showing more organized effort than they did in the NY-23 race. Equally of interest is that those organizations are wisely backing a candidate who probably would be considered a RINO worthy of defeat in any other election. That poses an interesting direction for November’s elections–one more focused on Republican victory than Republican infighting. That could make quite a difference in the results.

Of course, another wrinkle would be the effect of a Brown victory on November’s elections. Quite a few toss-up seats are toss-ups because of depressed enthusiasm among Democrats. A Brown victory might change that.

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I acknowledge that this is a pet peeve but I have difficulty in taking any report seriously that uses the word bellwether without spelling it correctly. It suggests that the writer and/or editor don’t know what it means.

  2. Pete says:

    This is especially the case as the Democratic base in Massachusetts is getting riled up over the prospect of Brown’s election effectively killing healthcare reform.

    Alex, isn’t Brown asserting that national health care is unnecessary in MA because they already have their own, and, that MA will have to pay more in taxes to support national health care?

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Pete,

    When I saw Scott Brown on Fox about this issue he made the claim that the Massachusetts plan preserves the private sector while the Federal plan was all about government control. He might be using the line you’re talking about, but I haven’t seen it if he is.

  4. mpw280 says:

    I like the funding jab, since they are internet driven donations, you have no clue where they came from yet decide to call it out of state money. You also conveniently ignore the fact that the dem money is from seiu, aflcio, various teachers unions, dnc, big pharma, basically the woman is supported by out of state money and operatives sent by the dnc, but you just ignore that. Maybe you just ignore it because dems are always supported by out of state money so its a normal state of affairs, while the repubs tend to be more in state funded so it is a big deal when one actually runs a great fund raising campaign on the net that exceeds all expectations and gives him a greater chance against a dem that receives such great financing from unions and what not. mpw

  5. ulyssesunbound says:

    A Research 2000 poll has Coakley up by 8. As Dr. JJ has pointed out before, a partisan organization may fund Research 2000 polling, but the polling methods aren’t partisan.

    So, yeah, too close to call at this point.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    mpw280 –

    You’re implying that I have a problem with out-of-state money. I don’t. The fact remains that Brown has raised a lot of money from out-of-state sources, expecially with several “moneybombs” sponsored by the tea party organizations. Coakley has also raised a lot of out-of-state money. What of it? I didn’t intend a “jab.” I was merely stating a fact. It’s only a “jab” if there’s something wrong with out of state contributions. But there isn’t.

  7. Phil Smith says:

    Of course, another wrinkle would be the effect of a Brown victory on November’s elections. Quite a few toss-up seats are toss-ups because of depressed enthusiasm among Democrats. A Brown victory might change that.

    Yeah. Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine didn’t wake ’em up, but Martha Coakley will.

  8. Alex Knapp says:

    Phil,

    I don’t think Coakley will wake them up. I think having 59 seats in the Senate and possibly losing health care reform will wake them up.

  9. Steve Plunk says:

    Brown may be a RINO but the out of state money is pouring in because of Brown’s position on health care. This election is almost as much about the Obama health care bill as it is about who will represent Massachusetts in the senate.

  10. Alex Knapp says:

    Steve –

    I agree that health care is the major issue driving the out-of-state funding on both sides. But if Coakley weren’t so awful and Brown not running such a tight campaign, I don’t know that the money would be pouring in the same way.

  11. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Sometimes, when you take things for granted, they turn out not to be. Scott Brown should win in a landslide just based on the photo of Martha Coakley watching and doing nothing as Michael Meehan pushes a reporter to the ground, then claims she was unaware of the assault. There is a poll out there of likely voters which shows Brown ahead b6 15%. Oh oh, looks like MA might get a real representative who does not drowned companions.

  12. Benedict says:

    This is especially the case as the Democratic base in Massachusetts is getting riled up over the prospect of Brown’s election effectively killing healthcare reform.

    Link? Evidence? I’ve read a lot of stories on this race and they seem to be unanimous in that the “Democratic base in Massachusetts” is sitting on their collective hands.

  13. Brainster says:

    I’m not sure why you think a Brown victory would close the enthusiasm gap; it seems more likely that it would increase it. The Republicans would say, “If we can win in Massachusetts, we can win anywhere,” while the Democrats would say, “We’re doomed.”

  14. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Seems like one of the polls of likely voters says Brown leads by 15%. Oh oh.

  15. Wayne says:

    Alex
    If you weren’t trying to take a jab with the out of state comment then why state it and why not include his opponent doing the same? In other words what was your point?

    IMO most people understand that Republican from a liberal state will be more liberal than from a conservative state but that doesn’t make them a RINO. Then again there are idiots who think anyone that doesn’t adhere to 100% of the most extreme conservative policy they can come up with, are considered a RINO by conservatives. That is simply not true. There is a hard to define line that they need to cross but sometime there are clear RINO’s.

    As for Brown, he seems to have taken some pretty conservative stances especially considering he is from Massachusetts. So Alex why do you consider him a RINO?

  16. Alex Knapp says:

    Wayne,

    If you weren’t trying to take a jab with the out of state comment then why state it and why not include his opponent doing the same? In other words what was your point?

    I mentioned it because I was talking about the national tea party organizations and I found their ability to raise money for Brown to be impressive.

    As for Brown, he seems to have taken some pretty conservative stances especially considering he is from Massachusetts. So Alex why do you consider him a RINO?

    Because he holds similar views on issues that have caused other politicians to be labeled RINOs in recent years.

    And just so we’re clear on this. If I still lived in Massachusetts, and health care wasn’t on the table anymore, I would vote for Brown over Coakely.

  17. just me says:

    I still have a hard time believing for a second that anyone other than a democrat is going to win this election next week. Brown has certainly made it a race-and I fully believe the democrats expected it to be a cakewalk, but I can’t imagine anyone with an R by their name winning a statewide election.

    I may be wrong, and would actually be quite happy if I am, but I can’t imagine Brown actually winning.

  18. ulyssesunbound says:

    Zels: Source, or at least the name of the polling firm that did it? Just curious as I haven’t seen that poll that you reference.

  19. Wayne says:

    Alex
    OK. It just wasn’t clear what your point was with your original statement.

    Which views are those? Is he against the second amendment or anti-military?

    The biggest issue that is often brought up as requirement to be in either party is what someone’s view on abortion. IMO this is a big misrepresentation.

    To repeat myself from another post “If all else fail the Dems will find the needed ballots in their trunks”.