Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Daily Strike-1/12/10-Stomach Punch Scenario Update

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Make sure to catch The Big Picture's excellent entry laying out exactly what President Obama and Democrats must do to win in the court of public opinion. Also, thanks to those who have left comments. Keep them coming!

MA-SEN: Oy vey. Two new polls in the Massachusetts Senate race to replace Ted Kennedy are making me very, very nervous. An internal Democratic poll apparently showed Democrat Martha Coakley leading Republican Scott Brown by only 5 points. This is down from a margin of 14 points last week. Similarly, Rasmussen now shows Brown behind by only 2 points after being down 9 points last week.

Democrats at least now have a sense of urgency about this race. On Friday, Coakley will be campaigning with President Bill Clinton and Senator John Kerry in Boston. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic National Committee are pouring millions of dollars into the race which will be used primarily for advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts. Democratic donors were apparently sent a "panic" email deploring them to donate to Coakley's campaign.

The trajectory of this race right now is deeply troubling. Coakley needs to have a very strong final week, and a very organized ground game to avoid the upset. She also must explain the stakes of the race more clearly to Massachusetts overwhelmingly Democratic electorate: a Brown win means the end of health reform, probably. I don't think she's made that case convincingly enough yet.

I hope some other polls come out in the next couple of days so we can get further insight into this race, but the way things are looking now, we may be up for a long election night next Tuesday. In the meantime, we are downgrading this race in our rankings from "Likely Democratic" to "Lean Democratic." Another Rasmussen-type poll and we may call this a tossup. Also, partially because I'm in a bad mood, and partially due to reading more into these races, I've changed the PA (Specter) and IL (Open) Senate races from "Lean Democrat" to "Toss Up." My Senate projections have changed accordingly.

THE HOUSE: The House gaveled in today for the first time in 2010. They are currently establishing a quorum. They will vote tonight to dispose of President Obama's first (not really) veto. See yesterday's Weekly Strike for more information on that. The House comes back tomorrow to work on some suspension bills. On Thursday and Friday, the House is out of session while the Democratic caucus goes on their annual retreat. I would guess this retreat will be a lot more sober than last year's.

House and Senate leaders will be at the White House tomorrow to discuss health care. The results of the Coakley/Brown race will certainly be the elephant in the room there.

The Senate is out of session until next Wednesday.

That's it for tonight. See you tomorrow!

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