The Massachusetts’ special U.S. Senate election has gotten tighter, but the general dynamics remain the same.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley attracting 49% of the vote while her Republican rival, state Senator Scott Brown, picks up 47%.
Three percent (3%) say they’ll vote for independent candidate Joe Kennedy, and two percent (2%) are undecided. The independent is no relation to the late Edward M. Kennedy, whose Senate seat the candidates are battling to fill in next Tuesday's election.
Coakley is supported by 77% of Democrats while Brown picks up the vote from 88% of Republicans. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, Brown leads 71% to 23%. To be clear, this lead is among unaffiliated voters who are likely to participate in the special election.
I was surprised during the debate last night why Brown kept hitting on the issue of trying terrorists as enemy combatants. Looks like Brown had some good polling intelligence. This from the Rasmussen report:
Sixty-five percent (65%) of voters say the man who tried to blow up an airline on Christmas Day should be tried by the military as a terrorist act while 21% believe the case should be tried by civilian courts as a criminal act.
And Brown was super-smart to make sure he pointed out that he agrees with Obama on some issues, notably Afghanistan, while taking on the Massachusetts state establishment:
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of those likely to vote in this election still approve of the way that Barack Obama is doing his job as president. Just 40% approve of the way that Deval Patrick is handling his role as governor.
Brown's prep for the debate was awesome. He didn't change his positions based on polls, but he made sure to hammer the right issues during the debate.
With each passing day I am more and more impressed with the Brown campaign.
Update: I missed this detail in the Rasmussen report in my first read-through, Brown is ahead by one point among people who have made up their minds already, while Coakley is ahead by two points when leaners are included:
Leaners are those who don’t initially have a preference for one of the major candidates but indicate that they are leaning in that direction. Without “leaners,” Brown was actually ahead by a single percentage point....
The new Rasmussen Reports poll shows that Brown is ahead by two percentage points among those who are absolutely certain they will vote. A week ago, he trailed by two among those certain to vote.