AT's Massachusetts election forecast
There are three possible outcomes today; a very narrow Coakley win (less than 5% margin), a very narrow Brown win (less than 5% margin), or a decisive Brown win (5-10% margin).
I would put the odds on each of the three possibilities as follows: 30% for a narrow Coakley win, 35% for a narrow Brown win, and 35% for a decisive Brown win. Betters on InTrade
and Nate Silver, the liberal polling guru, seem to agree with this assessment - giving Brown about a 70-75% chance to win.
The polling data in recent days suggests momentum for Brown. The negative campaign of Coakley and her allies (e.g. SEIU) does not seem to have motivated the Democratic base, other than some union members. Minority voter turnout should be far below white turnout as a percentage of registered voters. African American voters do not see Martha Coakley the same way they saw Barack Obama on Election Day a year ago.
Coakley's only chance is that all the organizers flooding the state (3500 from Organizing for America, plus hundreds more from the SEIU and AFL-CIO) literally drag likely Coakley voters to the polls. The most interesting number the media and professional politicians might want to look at is a Rasmussen poll that indicates 49% of Americans want Brown to win, 34% want Coakley to win.
Brown has run a positive campaign, and is an impressive candidate (he is this year's "change" candidate). Coakley is a horrible candidate and campaigner (Curt Schilling a Yankees fan, observant Catholics should not work in hospital ERs). This comparison accounts for part of the difference in appeal. But if there is a 15% margin across the nation to elect Republicans over Democrats, we are heading for a tsunami in November. Barbara Boxer's lead in California, a state Obama won by 24% in 2008, is down to 3%.
Which Democratic Senators or House members in districts that are not majority non-white, will feel safe if Brown wins a blowout victory in a state that voted for Obama by 26%?
One caution; the Obama White House has leaked for days that they expect a defeat. If Coakley pulls it out, they will argue that Obama's visit to Boston was the game changer, add that once voters realized that a Brown victory was a threat to Obama's agenda, they came home. If Coakley wins, a narrow defeat will be a bitter pill for those on the right, who will take no solace from another close defeat.
A Brown win will not only complicate the health care reform effort, it will likely lead to more retirements by Democratic House members.
Make sure you catch Rich Baehr tonight on the Rick Moran Show at 7:00 PM central time, 8:00 PM eastern for the best in election coverage and analysis.