Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook have moved the Massachusetts Senate race into the “toss up” columns in their respective election watch reports.
It takes five factors to make a good electoral effort: The Man (okay, not politically correct or always accurate, but cut me a break: “candidate” doesn’t start with an“m”); The Message, The Money, The Machine, and The Moment. Scott Brown is a vastly better candidate than Martha Coakley, and he’s proven adept at finding and sticking to a good “change” message. Money was a bit of a weak spot, but all indications are that he’s now receiving all the money his campaign will be able to spend in the time left. Organization is still a weakness compared to the opposition, of course, but there’s some hope that the Dems until-recently lackadaisical posture may have blunted their ability to fully mobilize. As for the moment, well, even in Massachusetts people are obviously pissed off at those in power in D.C. And therein lies the real story of this race: Everyone, except maybe some in the Brown campaign, assumed that folks in the deep blue Bay State wouldn’t be pissed off enough to make this race interesting.
If you’d have asked me about Brown’s chances two weeks ago, I’d have told you that he just might be able to come within 15 points of Coakley. If you’d have asked me 2 days ago, I’d have told you that he might make things pretty close (say, within five points), but that he wouldn’t win. Indeed, if the election were to be held tomorrow, I’d still tell you right now that Coakley should favored by two or three points. But now I think it’s ever so slightly more likely than not that next Wednesday morning we will learn that the senator-elect from Massachusetts is a fairly conservative Republican.
What a morning that would be.