It is a kind of political earthquake what happened in Mass tonight. The race was called at 9:20. Brown had 53% of the vote. He sits at 9:30 at 52%. New Jersey, Virginia, and now Mass have had elections going to the Republicans. In two of these, Obama had a presence. He did not help (or his bump to the Democrat was not enough). The seat previously held by Ted Kennedy has gone to a Republican in a landslide. This election is historic, but it remains to be seen if such momentum will last until this November. Is this a sign of what’s to come?
Before the election, the Brown HQ was full an hour or more before the polls closed. Coakley’s HQ was empty. Yes, empty. I could tell at 7pm, it was over for Coakley based on that.
Pelosi has said that the health care bill will proceed. This, if true, is political suicide for the Democrat Party–or at least for incumbent Democrats as Even Bayh noted today. I do not believe that Pelosi’s wish to proceed will prove true, but, it may. It is likely that Coakley’s loss tonight just saved the Democrat Party from a rout in 2010, and 2012. However, it must recognize the public will is against them. I am sure many Democrats will re-evaluate their position in their states after tonight. Quite possibly there will be a cooling off period viz health care. If that happens, then Pelosi will be proven wrong in her guarantee health care will come.
I have written that Brown’s ads are cutting edge. Well, he used other technology in a cutting edge way as well–and it fueled the energy of his campaign. The wave that overtook Mass could hit the rest of the country next November. The way things look now, the House is back in play to change hands.
Brown’s campaign was near perfect, but that is only the reason for his victory. The arguments, the rhetoric, as I noted yesterday, are reasons for persuasion of the voters. In a state where Democrats loom large, Brown persuaded many to abandon their party. This is no small feat for a state that has been Democratic in the Senate for roughly 70 years.
Rasmussen looks behind the scenes:
- Among those who decided how they would vote in the past few days, Coakley has a slight edge, 47% to 41%.
- Coakley also has a big advantage among those who made up their mind more than a month ago.
- Seventy-six percent (76%) of voters for Brown said they were voting for him rather than against Coakley.
- Sixty-six percent (66%) of Coakley voters said they were voting for her rather than against Brown.
- 22% of Democrats voted for Brown. That is generally consistent with pre-election polling.
Which Polls were most Reliable?
It is to their credit that many polls (lots of them deemed unreliable by TPM) nailed, or nearly nailed, the election. They are:
- PJM/Cross Target=52%
- Politico/InAdv (a poll that was a one shot, one day poll on the 17th, that nearly nailed it)=52%
- PPP=51%–which ran a poll stating the Mass voters do not care to continue the Kennedy legacy. That’s huge.
These polls had brown around 51%, a few had him at 54% earlier. It is no small feat that these polls called it right. They had many exigencies working against them.
Which Polls Blew it?
- Daily Kos
- Research 2000
- Blue Mass Group (though they polled a few days ago)
Their reliability should be in question in the future. By the way, Zogby continued to call it wrong by predicting a Coakley win tonight. Zogby has been way off for a decade.
The Democrat base seems to be leaving the party in Mass. This is a shocking development. On Fox, there is a focus group being conducted, and they all seem to understand the market is related to their future, and that the market hostility from the administration does no good for them. Almost everyone in the room voted for Obama, and loathes the health care plan. These future patients seem to think that their needs to be tort reform (which limits their ability to sue). That is astonishing. They also have lost faith in Obama. This focus, if generalizable, spells doom for the Democrats in 2010.
Some cautions for the Republicans who might be Giddy:
- They really have no agenda. As Jack Pitney, a Prof at Claremont-McKenna, said on NPR this afternoon, the Republicans are really just capitalizing on the discontent with the Democrat Party. The Republicans really have no positive argument with which to engage Democrats. This is not a powerful position for the Republicans from which to stage a lasting come back. With Brown being elected, the Republicans are now in more of a leadership role. They need to act like a majority party if they are to capitalize on 2010.
- As the WSJ noted today, the ideology of the country really has not changed. Th country is essentially the same country it was when it elected Obama. This fact is not a boon to Republicans, or Democrats. Whichever party capitalizes on the sentiment present in the electorate, will gain seats–unless the Democrats continue on their track as Pelosi contends, then the Republicans will have to do less.
The Dow rose today based on health stocks in large part. I would say that the reason for the rise of health stocks today was because the market bet on a Scott Brown win in Mass this evening. He campaigned on blocking Health Care. The market believed he would send a message and kill the bill. In 1 year, Obama has gone from most popular, to least popular. It just goes to show how much an electorate can change party gears on a dime. For political junkies, this is a big night.
Is this a shot heard around the world? Is this election the effect of the new tea party movement? We have about 10 months to find out.