Massachusetts: 'Bottom has fallen out' of Coakley's polls; Dems prepare to explain defeat, protect Obama 

1/20 update : My post election thoughts here

Here in Massachusetts, as well as in Washington, a growing sense of gloom is setting in among Democrats about the fortunes of Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley. "I have heard that in the last two days the bottom has fallen out of her poll numbers," says one well-connected Democratic strategist. In her own polling, Coakley is said to be around five points behind Republican Scott Brown. "If she's not six or eight ahead going into the election, all the intensity is on the other side in terms of turnout," the Democrat says. "So right now, she is destined to lose."

Intensifying the gloom, the Democrat says, is the fact that the same polls showing Coakley falling behind also show President Obama with a healthy approval rating in the state. "With Obama at 60 percent in Massachusetts, this shouldn't be happening, but it is," the Democrat says.

Given those numbers, some Democrats, eager to distance Obama from any electoral failure, are beginning to compare Coakley to Creigh Deeds, the losing Democratic candidate in the Virginia governor's race last year. Deeds ran such a lackluster campaign, Democrats say, that his defeat could be solely attributed to his own shortcomings, and should not be seen as a referendum on President Obama's policies or those of the national Democratic party.

The same sort of thinking is emerging in Massachusetts. "This is a Creigh Deeds situation," the Democrat says. "I don't think it says that the Obama agenda is a problem. I think it says, 1) that she's a terrible candidate, 2) that she ran a terrible campaign, 3) that the climate is difficult but she should have been able to overcome it, and 4) that Democrats beware -- you better run good campaigns, or you're going to lose."

With the election still four days away, Democrats are still hoping that "something could happen" to change the dynamics of the race. But until that thing happens, the situation as it exists today explains Barack Obama's decision not to travel to Massachusetts to campaign for Coakley. "If the White House thinks she can win, Obama will be there," the Democrat says. "If they don't think she can win, he won't be there." For national Democrats, the task is now to insulate Obama against any suggestion that a Coakley defeat would be a judgment on the president's agenda and performance in office.

The private talk among Democrats is also reflected in some public polling on the race. Late Thursday, we learned the results of a Suffolk University poll showing Brown in the lead by four points, 50 percent to 46 percent. That poll showed Obama with a 55 percent approval rating. Also on Thursday, two of Washington's leading political analysts, Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook, each changed their assessment of the Brown/Coakley race from a narrow advantage for Coakley to a toss-up.

-- Beltway Confidential

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

Bio:
A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of...

More by Staff Report

Latest in Nation

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation