The Campaign Spot

In Massachusetts, Anecdotes for Cheer, Data for Gloom

If anecdotes were votes, Scott Brown would be cruising to victory in the special Senate election in Massachusetts.

Fred Bauer calls my attention to this observation from Marty Peretz:

As it happens, I favor the Obama economic agenda, even something with a more egalitarian thrust. But I don’t think Massachusetts does. The voters are scared. Brown compares himself to John Kennedy in a just-released television spot. Well, the Dems have gone hysterical. This is a sign of their (incipient) panic. Maybe their panic is apt.

Then there’s the Worcester Business Journal:

We wanted to give Attorney General Martha Coakley the benefit of the doubt when her campaign staff was initially stand offish after we approached them about setting up an interview for our story on the race to fill Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat. But then we were put off several times by her staff. We suddenly got the feeling Ms. Coakley, a Democrat, didn’t want to speak with us, and the media in general.

Then there’s this, from a Campaign Spot reader:

One of my friends has been volunteering for GOP guys in Mass for a long time. To call him cynical about the Mass GOP would be harsh on cynics. Frankly, the only reason he bothers is he has such a good time at election parties. No kidding.

He was at a Brown event recently. It was one of those deals where they try to gather up and organize volunteers. He tells me the room was loaded with people he never met. He’s still skeptical, but there is something going on up there that seems to be due to the harsh unattractiveness of the Democrat. He says, “even the moonbats think she is awful. Brown could be named ‘none of the above’ and do well.”

I’m extremely skeptical about his chances, but this reminds me of when Erhlich ran against Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Even in a one party state, there are limits. KKT was dangerously incompetent and that opened the door for Erhlich, who was a guy without any baggage that whips up the loonies on the left. Maybe this Brown guy is the same.

As an aside, it would be hilarious if Brown wins. The week following on MSNBC would be DVR quality.

Then there’s this report: “In towns across the Cape, hundreds of residents have already cast absentee ballots — a sharp increase over past years, town clerks said. In Barnstable, the town clerk’s office has already received 485 ballots — about double the usual count two weeks before an election, according to Town Clerk Linda Hutchenrider.” As one reader observed, “Now maybe relatively affluent seniors on the Cape are stuffing the ballot box in support of Obamacare; but I tend to doubt it.” The 10th District, which includes Cape Cod, is the most conservative in the state.

All of these anecdotes might make Republicans think that one of the upsets of the century is in the works. But I’d note a bit of counter-evidence: There’s no way the national party committees on both sides don’t know the stakes in this race, and so far, neither side has dumped much cash into this race.

Also, no one should forget just how steep a climb the GOP has in this race: If Republican Scott Brown doubles his number of votes in the GOP primary (145,465) and if Democrat Martha Coakley gets only the votes that she got in the primary (310,227) . . . Coakley still wins by almost 20,000 votes.

UPDATE: One of my regulars is in Massachusetts, and he weighs in:

I’m picking up some of the same hints too. Brown is flying under the radar; Coakley redefines “run of the mill Democrat”; extreme uncertainty about the race because of its timing, weather, lack of the “snowbird” voters who are in Florida right now.

Anecdotally, Barnstable County is reporting a very high rate of absentee ballot requests. That’s Brown country . . . but what could REALLY be Brown country — and what could win it for him — is Plymouth County. It’s the fastest growing region of the state and is loaded with moderate-to-conservative voters who would vote for Brown. The trick is getting them to the polls, which — in mid-January — could be a problem.

The last thing we really need here is a poll on the race. There hasn’t been any; a poll showing Brown very close would wake up the Democrat machine here. A poll showing him getting crushed could depress his momentum. Right now I’d give Coakley the edge on registration alone, but I don’t see her winning by more than 10 percent.

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