Monday, January 11, 2010

The latest from Massachusetts

I'm following up on this post from last week, on the Senate special election in Massachusetts.

In The Washington Post, E.J. Dionne, who I'm sure would rather be writing about a landslide victory for Democrat Martha Coakley, acknowledges that the polls, and other indicators, cast significant doubt on the outcome.

Nate Silver, on the 538 blog, is also a supporter of Democrats, but he is only cautiously optimistic about Coakley's ability to defeat her Republican opponent Scott Brown.

One reason that I'm skeptical about talk of a Republican upset, is that I remember the regular 1994 election for this Senate seat. Mitt Romney was making his first run for public office and, at some point during the fall campaign, I started to hear excited talk about how Romney was about to overtake his opponent, Ted Kennedy. As it turned out, Kennedy won by a 17-point margin.

The current conversation about Brown reminds me of that 1994 situation. But, of course, this is a different year, and these are different candidates. That doesn't prove anything.

Also, this is a special election being conducted separately from the usual November election day. Turnout will be very low. So it depends on who turns out and who doesn't. Tune in a week from tomorrow.

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