There is a lot going on this weekend. As I write, I am listening to a Coakley campaign speech, where she just said “just because you drive around Mass in a truck doesn’t mean your headed in the right direction. You know that!” Brown drives a truck. I am not sure lines like that work–though they certainly may in Boston.
President Obama is speaking now and the crowd is definitely fired up. He is mostly though, defending his record against George Bush. Odd tactic. But, he clearly means to say Coakley will mean Obama’s agenda will proceed. Is it really smart for the President to stake his entire agenda’s success on a Coakley win? There is a lot of anti-Wall Street/class warfare rhetoric as well in Obama’s speech. The crowd is eating it up.
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Coakley has closed the gap some, and Democrats are rallying a bit more around her. The latest PPP poll is about to be released. They have a tease for us at their website. While I do not know the details of the poll or its methodology, there’s some good news for Coakley, but even more for Brown. The last PPP poll had Brown by one. If I am not mistaken, the PP is a Democrat polling firm. The PPP spread is the first confirmation from a Democrat firm that confirms the PJM (“Republican”) polling. Here’s what the firm is seeing now:
-The electorate is becoming more Democratic. Last weekend we found it at Obama +16 and now we see it at Obama +20. So all the efforts to get the party base more engaged in the election are paying off.
-Balancing that out to some extent though is that we’re now seeing Brown win about 19% of the Obama vote, in comparison to 15% on our poll last week.
-Both candidates have seen a pretty large increase in their negatives over the last week, reflecting the increasingly nasty nature of the campaign.
-Even though the race is too close to call overall, 58% of voters think Brown has made a strong case for why he should be elected while only 41% say the same of Coakley. That speaks to voter perceptions that Brown has run the superior campaign and again you have to wonder how different things might be if Coakley had acted with a sense of urgency ever since the primary.
So, Coakley is closing, but not fast enough. I would say that the most interesting fact of the poll is that 58% think Brown has made a persuasive case why he should be elected, while only 41% think the same of Coakley. That’s not a good sign for the Democrat.
Even more bad news for Coakley is the energy of those who support Brown–many of them independent voters. They are so energized, that the Brown campaign cannot keep its campaign material in stock. The result? People have resorted to making home-made signs. I think that is really astonishing. It does not necessarily mean Brown gets elected, but it does mean there are a significant number of people in Mass that are very much in Brown’s corner–and those people will vote because they are energized. I have never personally seen anything like it–people do not make home-made signs in large numbers like they are for Brown.
I am hesitant to make a prediction. The polls could be wrong, and even more unpredictable, the people could change their mind in the voting booth on Tuesday. However, for those who have voted absentee already, Brown holds a 58% lead. Independents are breaking harder for Brown even as the intensity of the Democrats pick up. Coakley is making this a partisan race; Brown’s support is all about his personality and skill, and his policy stances. He campaigns as a happy guy. In down times (especially economically), the last thing a people want to see is a dour and sour candidate who complains. Coakley’s campaign is one dimensional, and party oriented. No wonder Brown is taking a majority of the Independent vote. It does not hurt that the voters also genuinely like Brown and not Coakley. Perhaps we are seeing a post-partisan shift in this country. Obama was elected in part because he seemed post partisan. He has governed like a Democrat–hence his falling approval. Half of the voters will not vote for Obama again, according to one poll. Brown has campaigned as a Mass citizen, not a Republican. To win elections in this age, do candidates need to run farther and farther from their party? I digress.
President Obama is in town for one reason–the Democrats are behind and/or Coakley is losing the race. The recent actions (the last mailing, Obama in town) of Coakley and the Democrat Party signal their panic. Brown thus looks poised for a win. I believed last week that Coakley had the advantage. She doesn’t anymore. This looks like its going to be a close race. Pull up a chair for a potentially long night in two days.