What a difference a month makes...
Three polls have been released over the past week. All three survey likely voters.
Rasmussen: Coakley 51; Brown 40
Globe/UNH: Coakley 50; Brown 35
Public Policy Polling (PPP): Brown 48; Coakley 47
All of these show how hard it is to forecast a special election. The Rasmussen and PPP polls show Brown with a big lead among independents, while the globe shows independents slightly in favor of Coakley. Both candidates have relatively high positives. Likewise the Globe poll shows more support for health reform legislation than either Rasmussen or PPP.
Which one is closest? Hard to tell as WHO turns out (in terms of demographics) will matter most. Republicans and Brown supporters appear to be more motivated in this race, but Massachusetts is still overwhelmingly blue.
For now, I am going to stick with my earlier prediction of a Coakley victory. My first assessment was a 57-43 margin which is a 14 point win. It may well end up less than 10 points, but until I get a better sense of the data, it is hard to tell. The Prof's instinct tells him that Coakley should pull this out easily with major ad buys for the last ten day and a concentrated ground effort. However, this race is taking place with an angry electorate and a rather uninspired campaign by Coakley. Massachusetts Republicans (all 14 of them) appear to be very fired up about the race so unpredictability is the watchword for any sane pundit.
But...I will go out on a limb (with the caveat that this may change by the day) and predict an 8 point Coakley victory (which is the average of the three polls out today)
My next post will center on a possible Brown path to victory.