Political Eyes on Massachusetts for Jan 19th Election

The possibility of Republican Scott Brown winning Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat in Massachusetts was unheard of just a month ago, however, fast-forward to today and we have a real race on our hands. Democrat Martha Coakley has run a weak campaign up to this point, presumably because she assumed it would be a gimme that she would stroll into the seat in dark-blue Massachusetts.

This is my new favorite political clip from the last Brown/Coakley debate a few days ago:

BusinessWeek put out an interesting article on the Massachusetts Senate race:

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) — Republicans may lose next week’s U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts and still win election- year political points.

The race to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat, once considered a foregone conclusion in a heavily Democratic state, is taking on national significance as some polls show Republican state Senator Scott Brown trailing Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley by as few as 2 percentage points, and after Brown raised $1.3 million in 24 hours over the Internet.

The surge in opinion polls by a state legislator who trailed by more than 30 points in November set off a last-minute Democratic push to turn out voters for Coakley on Jan. 19.

“He’s going to worry her from here until then,” said Richard Parker, a former consultant to Democrats, including Kennedy. Parker said “neither campaign is running like a Swiss railroad, and there could be problems in actually getting people out.”

If Brown wins, Democrats would lose the 60-vote Senate majority needed to overcome Republican filibusters on priorities such as health-care legislation. In Massachusetts, even coming close would help Republicans make the case that Democrats are in danger of losing congressional majorities in the November elections.

“Anything in the single digits and Republicans get to crow a little bit,” said Jeffrey Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Most analysis are stating that anything within a 10-point race in the end means some kind of victory for Republicans showing the political momentum in 2010 is heading their direction. A victory in Massachusetts would be a tsunami of positive news for Republicans in 2010. I remain cautiously optimistic though I know the likelihood of Brown’s victory lies with independent voters and the turnout game.

The election will hedge on turnout among Coakley supporters. Clearly Republican and independent-leaning voters are energized to vote against President Obama’s socialized health care and should turn out in droves.

Admittedly most polls show Coakley leading from anywhere between 2 points to 10 points. Public Policy Polling’s latest, as of right now, is the only one showing Brown leading by 1 among likely voters. Check out all the polls on this race from Real Clear Politics.

The Massachusetts special election is January 19th, 2010.