Monday, January 4, 2010

Brown Closer?

The Weekly Standard has a striking poll leak (emphasis added):
THE WEEKLY STANDARD has obtained the results of a private poll conducted last week by a reputable non-partisan firm. In that survey, Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley led Republican state senator Scott Brown in the ballot test by 50% to 39%--not bad for Brown in a state Obama carried by 23 points. More interesting, perhaps, is that while Coakley's favorable/unfavorable rating was 61% to 32%, Brown's was 56% to 26%--in other words, they were virtually identical at +29/30. That suggests a potentially very competitive race: If Brown can make his case against another Democratic vote in the U.S. Senate, or against rewarding a member of unpopular governor Deval Patrick’s administration, some voters who currently prefer Coakley might be open to voting for Brown, since they view him favorably as well. THE WEEKLY STANDARD has also learned that an earlier poll, done in mid-December by another firm for another client, had similar results in the ballot test--but that the poll also found that the race tightened significantly, down to a low single digits margin for Coakley, among those judged most likely to vote.
If Brown is within 11 points, this could be a close race indeed, especially if you factor in the fact that this poll was taken in the middle of last week. Brown's stock has probably only risen since then. As that snippet from the second poll indicates, turnout could make a huge difference. The enthusiasm gap could---maybe maybe maybe---put Brown over the top.

William A. Jacobson has some pointed words for those in the establishment who are delaying support for Brown until a favorable poll comes out:
Unfortunately, some prominent right-wing commentators and almost the entire Republican establishment have decided to sit this one out unless and until there was a reputable public poll showing that Scott Brown was within striking distance of Martha Coakley.

What foolishness. By sitting this one out these people have increased the likelihood that this first poll will not be favorable to Brown. Anyone ever hear of a self-fulfilling prophecy?
It so often happens that victories are made possible by those who are willing to fight for something before they are guaranteed of winning. If Brown is able to win or come close in Massachusetts, part of his success (and coming close would be a considerable success) will be due to the passion and commitment of the decentralized, independently motivated rightosphere. A pack not a herd indeed.

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