Saturday, January 9, 2010

Brown Leads by One Point in Latest PPP poll - It's a Toss Up

Marc Ambinder ponders the possibility, "Dems to Croak in Massachusetts?"  Ambinder reprints an email sent from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee he suggests would not have been sent unless there were real fears Coakley could choke:
You need to know this: Polls are tightening in Massachusetts, and America's future hangs on getting Martha Coakley elected to Ted Kennedy's seat on Jan. 19. Winning this special election means passing health care reform and the rest of President Obama's agenda.
We need your help today. The special election is only 10 days away. Funds are needed NOW to fight back against swiftboat attacks. Click here to make an immediate donation of $5 or more to the DSCC.

American Future Fund, the guys who brought you the Swift Boat attacks against decorated war veteran John Kerry, are up with a $400,000 buy, smearing Coakley.She's being outspent, and a new poll shows that the right wing money is doing the trick. Republican Scott Brown is within striking distance.

Keeping this seat blue is critical. Coakley is the 60th vote needed to pass health care and the rest of President Obama's agenda. As Massachusetts' first woman senator, she will help advance Kennedy's legacy - fighting for equal rights, a strong economy, and our families and communities.  Without her vote, health care won't happen.
Yet the plaintive cry that health care won't happen without Coakley's election seems to be what is driving the all important Independent vote towards Brown according to the latest PPP poll:

Brown has eye popping numbers with independents, sporting a 70/16 favorability rating with them and holding a 63-31 lead in the horse race with Coakley. Health care may be hurting Democratic fortunes with that group, as only 27% of independents express support for Obama's plan with 59% opposed.
 Also helping Brown is the relative disinterest among Democrats who don't appear all that motivated to turn out for this special election:

Republicans are considerably more enthusiastic about turning out to vote than Democrats are. 66% of GOP voters say they are 'very excited' about casting their votes, while only 48% of Democrats express that sentiment- and that's among the Democrats who areplanning to vote in contrast to the many who are apparently not planning to do so at this point.
 Support for Brown has less to do with approval of Republicans in general.  In fact, only 21% of Massachusetts voters signal their approval of Congressional Republicans.  A large block of voters, however, those who disapprove of both parties appear to be poised to support the party out of power.  Toss in high personal approval of Brown and you have all the makings for a repeat of Virginia and to a lesser degree New Jersey because Christie's approval was not nearly as high as Brown's.

PPP as a left leaning pollster appears to have a clear message for Coakley believing she can still turn this around:
Here's the reality: the Republicans and GOP leaning independents are going to come out and vote for Scott Brown. There's no doubt about that. But there's also a much larger pool of potential Democratic voters in the state. If Coakley can get them out, she wins. But this race is well past the stage where Democrats can take it for granted that will happen. It will be fascinating to see what happens the final ten days and we'll do a second poll on the race next weekend.
 Coakley may have some difficulty following PPP's advice, however, based on some of the information found in the crosstabs of the poll:
Brown leads 63-31 with independents and is winning 17% of the Democratic vote while Coakley receives only 6% support from GOP voters. Both candidates are relatively popular, with 57% viewing Brown favorably to only 25% unfavorable and 50% with a positive opinion of Coakley to 42% negative.
Brown's favorability at +32 vs +8 for Coakley along with  his support among the Democratic vote outstrips Coakley's considerably making this race a toss up.  This will come down to turnout as do most special elections.  Still, the mere fact we are discussing the possibility of a Republican winning Ted Kennedy's seat is nothing short of miraculous.   The next ten days are shaping up to be really exciting.

For More:
Professor Jacobson spent the day at Brown's headquarters, be sure to read his report.
Lots more at Memeorandum too.

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