Sunday, June 02, 2013


Sorry, Charlie Cook, I don't buy this:
... The Cook [Political Report] announced Thursday that it was shifting its prediction for the [Massachusetts Senate] race from "leaning Democrat" to "toss up," although the group acknowledged it still had its "thumb on the scale" for Democrat Edward Markey, an 18-term congressman who has consistently polled ahead of his Republican rival, businessman Gabriel Gomez.

"In truth, we have had a difficult time accepting the idea that this race might get close," wrote Cook's Jennifer Duffy. "At the same time, Democrats nominated a long-serving member of Congress at a time when Congress is an almost universally unpopular institution...."
OK, stop right there. This is America. What do we think of Congress? We hate it. What do we do when members of Congress are up for reelection? We return well over 90% of them to office. Our hatred of Congress doesn't extend to our members of Congress. And while I know that Markey isn't literally running for reelection, he is a familiar figure who's won a lot of races.

And let's look at the numbers, as compiled by Real Clear Politics. Quiz question: How would you characterize the following numbers -- "toss-up" or "leans Democratic"?

Here's how this category change gets rationalized:
... more than half of Massachusetts voters are registered as independents, and Gomez will need to get as many of them as possible to the polls June 25.

Recent history suggests that's possible. In 2010, Republican Scott Brown won a similar special election on the strength of his support from independents, who voted for him 2 to 1 over Democratic Martha Coakley, according to a postelection poll by The Washington Post.
Martha Coakley ran an awful race, in the first flush of the teabag moment. This is a very different contest.
In a Public Policy Polling survey released in mid-May, Gomez had 56 percent of the independent vote -- up from 47 percent at the beginning of the month.
Yes, but that PPP survey (PDF) showed Markey gaining and Gomez's favorability numbers declining:
Public Policy Polling's newest survey of the US Senate election in Massachusetts finds Ed Markey's lead over Gabriel Gomez growing to 7 points at 48/41, up from a 4 point margin right after the primary election 2 weeks ago....

Markey's consolidating his party base, going from a 68/21 lead with Democratic voters two weeks ago to a 77/12 one now. That suggests that voters who supported Stephen Lynch in the primary election are starting to unify more around Markey now....

Gomez's net favorability has declined by 6 points in the last two weeks from +14 at 41/27 previously to now +8 at 42/34. Most notably he's gone from 33/32 with Democrats right after the primary to now 20/52, suggesting that the more Democrats learn about him the less crossover appeal he has.
Which is similar to what we learn from the latest survey of the race, from Emerson College Polling Society, a poll that has Markey leading by 12, up from a 6-point lead three weeks ago (PDF):
Felix Chen, President of ECPS, said "the data suggests that Markey's domination of the air waves with television ads are having the intended effect of allowing him to define his opponent, which has lowered the favorable opinion of Gomez, while increasing his own support from undecided voters".

The survey shows that more Independent voters moving toward Markey. In the May 1 poll, Gomez led this group by 21 points (46% to 25%) but now Gomez holds only an 11 point lead (43% to 32%) among Independents....

According to Juliet Albin, an ECPS analyst, "Gomez's overall favorability has dropped 4 points (from 45% to 41%) while his unfavorable opinion has increased by 10 points (25% to 35%)". Moreover, Markey has slightly increased his favorable opinion up to the 50% threshold, which according to Albin is a standard indicator of electoral success.


Why is Cook reclassifying this race? Maybe it's out of a sincere belief that it could just as easily go Republican as Democratic. But we know from 2012 that Republicans, including Republican political pros, would rather hear happy news about their electoral prospects than the truth.

Maybe Cook is just trying to give them what they want. Maybe Cook assumes that the "create our on reality" party will perk up in response to an inspiring delusion.

1 comment:

Victor said...

The GOP is, again, practicing WT - Wishful Thinking.

Wishful thinking, and prayer, will only get them so far.

Voter Suppression would get them a whole hell of a lot further - but, thankfully, MA is a Blue state, so the Conservatives can't get any traction there.