Seizmic Shift

If Republican State Senator Scott Brown can win the special election to take over the old Ted Kennedy senate seat, it will shake national politics to the core. The 60 votes available for the Obama administration to armtwist into supporting the unpopular health reform bill, for example, would be gone. Today, a new poll shows Brown in striking distance.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds Coakley ahead of Brown 50% to 41%. One percent (1%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.
In a slap to voters, Coakley took six days off last week. But even while she's campaigning, she does her best to avoid detection. In return, voters seem to be losing interest in her. A small nine point lead for the Democrat chosen to succeed Ted is astounding!
Both candidates get better than 70% of the vote from members of their respective parties, but Brown leads 65% to 21% among voters not affiliated with either of the major parties. In Massachusetts, however, Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans and it is very difficult for the GOP to compete except in special circumstances. Eight percent (8%) of Democrats remain undecided while just 3% of Republicans are in that category.
Coakley, whose organization must be in panic today, is likely getting ready to dramatically outspend Brown on TV. Scott's been on already, while Martha's been holding back.
National Review Online's Jim Geraghty also picks up on the conservative sentiment that Brown's chances in Massachusetts are not as long-shot as some would believe. "A bunch of ingredients are coming together for Scott Brown. Republicans are angry and fired up, a surprising number of Democrats alternate between unenthusiastic or animosity towards the nominee, and if the independents in Massachusetts are like the ones in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, they'll shift heavily to Republicans compared to 2008."
What else is playing in Scott Brown's favor?
Conservative blogger Erick Erickson says "the odds are against Brown, but only slightly." He makes the point that Brown may not win, but that enough liberal voters are unhappy with President Obama's first-year record, including his lack of commitment to a public health insurance option, that they might use a vote for Brown as a "public rebuke to the President.
The Weekly Standard is reporting that other polls, less reliable insider ones, are showing a similar trend.
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.
But having insider polls from different insiders is better - especially when they're outcomes are reinforced by Rasmussen.
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. Furthermore, a careful analysis by Sean Trende shows, that if one assumes a swing against the Democrats like that in New Jersey and Virginia two months ago, the race could become very close.
The Democrats maliciously manipulated the process in Massachusetts to allow the appointment of an interim Senator in advance of the special election that's going on right now - and that resulted in Ted Kennedy aid Paul Kirk going to Washington in order to get health care passed. Blocking Coakley's ordination into the seat would be a nice rebuke to the slimy Dems.