Twitter

Leaning Towards Scott Brown In Massachusetts

The numbers don't look good for Martha Coakley in Massachusetts:
The FiveThirtyEight Senate Forecasting Model, which correctly predicted the outcome of all 35 Senate races in 2008, now regards Republican Scott Brown as a 74 percent favorite to win the Senate seat in Massachusetts on the basis of new polling from ARG, Research 2000 and InsiderAdvantage which show worsening numbers for Brown's opponent, Martha Coakley. We have traditionally categorized races in which one side has between a 60 and 80 percent chance of winning as "leaning" toward that candidate, and so that is how we categorize this race now: Lean GOP. Nevertheless, there is a higher-than-usual chance of large, correlated errors in the polling, such as were observed in NY-23 and the New Hampshire Democratic primary; the model hedges against this risk partially, but not completely.

[snip]

[T]here is a small chance that movement toward Coakley could occur after the pollsters have left the field. Until very recently, most voters assumed that Coakley would win; the fact that her chances are now imperiled could motivate more of them to vote, or to avoid casting a "protest vote" against her for one of her opponents. However, the chances are perhaps just as good that her voters become too despondent to turn out, which could produce a fairly substantial victory for Brown

Overall, while I would probably take Coakley's side of a 3:1 wager, her situation looks to be increasingly difficult. She is basically relying upon getting solid turnout from a "silent majority" of voters who have done little to make themselves seen and heard. We know that there are a huge number of potential such voters in Massachusetts, which remains a very blue state and which until the past three weeks had not behaved unusually in any obvious way. But the pollsters are no longer seeing and hearing from them.
Two thoughts:

1) If you live in Massachusetts, you really should get out and vote. In seems to me that in a special election of this sort, the vote margins could be really slim -- so the phrase "every vote counts" has even more significance.

2) Nate Silver is really friggin' smart. Period.