Diary

Coakley in Freefall: "This is a disaster for Democrats"

Final polls released the day before the Massachusetts special Senate election show a widening lead for Republican Scott Brown over Democrat State AG Martha Coakley. The latest bad news for President Obama comes from a poll conducted for Politico.com by Insider Advantage:

“I actually think the bottom is falling out,” said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery, referring to Coakley’s fall in the polls over the last ten days. “I think that this candidate is in freefall. Clearly this race is imploding for her…this is a disaster (for Democrats)”

The Politico poll, based on factoring in the number of registered voters, voters who said that they were likely to vote tomorrow, and the different levels of enthusiasm of voter groups shows Brown with a 9 point lead over the Democrat. Insider Advantage assumed a final breakdown of 20 percent Republicans, 43 percent Democrats and only 37 percent independent voters.

Independent or “Unenrolled” voters make up 51% of eligible voters in Massachusetts. Historically, unemrolled voters show up at the polls in smaller numbers than registered Democrats or Republicans. “It’d be even worse for (Coakley),” said Tower, “if we weighed it towards more independents.”

And that may be the problem. The poll may actually be weighted too much in favor of Coakley. Already, the Insider Advantage survey shows a final vote of 52 percent for Brown, 43 percent for Coakley, 2 percent for Libertarian Party candidate Kennedy and 3 percent still undecided. If that poll is accurate, and those remaining undecideds break evenly for Brown and Coakley, that would propell the Republican candidate to an impressive win with nearly 54 percent of the vote.

The Obama Effect?

The final blow for President Obama, who raised the stakes this weekend by visiting the state himself to campaign for Coakley, is that late polls show that Brown has increased his “take” of Democrats. Polls show that 25 percent of registered Democrats now say they will vote for Brown, up from 20 percent prior to the President’s visit to Massachusetts.

Other polls released in the last three days show similar margins in favor of Brown. American Research Group gives Brown a 7 point lead, 52 to 45 percent. Suffolk University released a final survey of three bellweather Massachusetts counties, showing them all breaking late towards Brown by double-digit margins.

If unenrolled voters show up at the polls in higher numbers than in previous contests–which seems likely given their overwhelming backing of Brown–the win could be even more of a blowout for the Republican candidate. If that is the case, expect Brown to beat Coakley by the higher, double-digit margin suggested by Suffolk.