Friday, January 15, 2023
By Steven L. Taylor

The big news in the Massachusetts’ special election is a poll showing Republican Scott Brown ahead by 4 point (via the Boston HeraldPoll shocker: Scott Brown surges ahead in Senate race):

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.

The MOE is +/- 4.4%, making the race a statistical dead heat.  Of course, such a situation is remarkable in and of itself, and being the one with 50% in a given poll is always the better place to be.

Of course, this comes on the heels of a poll yesterday that showed Democrat Martha Coakley up by eight:  Exclusive BMG/Research 2023 poll: Coakley leads 49-41.

As such, both Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg have re-classified as a toss-up (see Massachusetts Senate Race Called a Toss Up).  Nate Silver is onboard with the classification as well.

Clearly differing theories on how to predict turn-out are in effect here.  Further, there is no doubt that there is going to be a great deal of activity in Massachusetts over the next several days.

And, indeed, no just there (via WaPo), as the White House nears deal on health care

Already under intense pressure to resolve differences between measures approved by the House and Senate last year, Democratic leaders are growing increasingly concerned that they could lose their 60-vote majority in the Senate on Tuesday, when a little-known Republican will face Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) in a special election in the state for the Senate seat that was held by Edward M. Kennedy. A victory by Massachusetts state Sen. Scott Brown would give Senate Republicans a crucial 41st vote — and the power to block Obama’s top U.S. initiative.

Scenarios such as this one is certainly a good example of why politics is a fascinating enterprise to observe and study.

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Filed under: 2010 Elections, US Politics | |
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3 Responses to “Massachusetts Drama”

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    1. Jim Henley Says:

      That “statistical dead heat” talk is one of my hobby horses, but in this case I can let it slide since there’s only one poll, but even so it’s sloppy talk. Yes, Coakley could theoretically “really” be leading by a smidge, but it’s just as likely that she’s “really” losing by 9 points rather than 4. When five polls in a row show the same candidate leading by three points and the media calls it a “statistical dead heat” because “three percent is within the margin of error,” I want to punch somebody. I settle for saying, “No. Not really.”

    2. MSS Says:

      Or just plain frustrating to observe, when it is American politics.

      Whatever one thinks of any given policy proposal, there simply is no sensible normative justification for a government’s policy program requiring 60% of votes to pass through a legislative chamber.

    3. Steven L. Taylor Says:

      Well, there is that–the Senate has some bizarre institutional parameters. At this point I am simply in observer mode.

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