Massachusetts

by Brien Jackson

I haven’t had much to say about the race for Ted Kennedy’s seat, because, frankly, I haven’t really known what to make of it. I wasn’t a big fan of Coakley’s originally; beyond the fact that she has a somewhat troubling record as a prosecutor, she was also easily identifiable as a poor campaigner, and also lacks significant legislative appearance, or any history with any major national issues she’ll be tasked with making policy on. Coakley’s nomination is a good example of why I’m not a huge fan of special elections; hasitly throwin together a contest with little time for candidates to prepare for it and, especially, campaign, with very few voters actively paying attention to what’s going on almost always produces a contest where the candidate with the highest initial name recognition wins, especially in the primary. Especially where Senate seats are concerned that seems like a problem to me.

But do I think Coakley might actually lose this race? Well, I guess anything is possible, but I’m still pretty suspicious. Enthusiasm gap or not, Massachusetts is still an overwhelmingly Democratic state. It’s so Democratic, it doesn’t have a single Republican in its entire Congressional delegation. And healthcare reform is pretty broadly popular there, which makes Brown’s decision to campaign almost exclusively around blocking healthcare reform somewhat odd. And now, Nate Silver confirms a suspicion I’ve had for awhile, that pollsters generally understate a party’s advantage in states that overwhelmingly favor them.

Anything can happen in a special election, of course. Still, I think at the end of the day, Massachusetts is going to remain as blue as it has been, and I don’t think the teabaggers are going to score a major win in one of the country’s most liberal states.

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