Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is Massachusetts in play?

There has been much talk in the blogosphere about a recent poll showing significant tightening in the race between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special election to choose a U.S. senator to replace the late Ted Kennedy.

Here is Scott Johnson's take, on Power Line. Over on the left, Nate Silver, on the 538 blog, anticipated the upcoming Rasmussen poll, in this post.

The poll in question shows Brown within nine percentage points of Coakley, with 13 days to go before the special election. Apparently, other pollsters have stayed away from the situation since the primary, considering Coakley to be a landslide winner. Therefore, the Rasmussen results haven't been corroborated, but there seems to be something going on.

In the short run, the obvious consideration on everyone's mind is the health care legislation. If Republicans pick up a 41st senator, they can sustain a filibuster against a compromise bill. As I see it, that would leave Democrats with two choices: 1) speed up the process of reconciling the House and Senate versions, to allow for a final Senate vote before the January 19 election; or 2) water down the bill enough to snag the vote of Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, who voted in favor of one Democratic version of the bill in the Finance Committee.

Still seems like a long shot, but getting more interesting.

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