Massachusetts, Part V (less than 72 hours away from the election)

Today, a poll was released from American Research Group (ARG), which polled 600 likely voters between Tuesday-Thursday, and this poll showed a 48-45% Scott Brown lead. Couple of things worth noting:

(1)    This poll was technically not the most recent one – Pajamas Media/Cross Target polled 946 likely voters on Thursday only, and that poll showed Brown with a 50-46% lead. In light of the apparent movement towards Brown (he leads in 3 of 4 polls taken in the last 7 days), it’s not surprising that he is polling slightly higher in the Pajamas Media poll than the ARG one (which was conducted between Tuesday and Thursday);

(2)    With this poll, if you average all the polls taken in the last seven days, you see a 48-45% Scott Brown lead.

So what do we think will happen? We think Scott Brown will ultimately win by 51-47%, partially because of recent polls moving in his direction, but we are also looking at the historical parallel of the 2009 New Jersey Governor’s race. In that race, you had an unpopular Democrat who, while helped by his Democratic Party identification, trailed in three of five polls taken the final week by an average of 42-43%. This poll deficit translated to a 45-49% Election Day defeat. In other words, the Democrat picked up 3 points in the end, while the Republican picked up 6 percent due to, in our view,  a more motivated electorate of Republicans and Independents. Applying this same logic to this race (i.e., 2/3 of the undecideds breaking towards the Republican on Election Day), a 48-45% poll lead in the final week’s polling translates to a 52-47% election night victory. What about the effect of the Obama visit for Martha Coakley ? Well, in New Jersey, Corzine had President Obama, former President Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden campaign for him. And it produced a losing Democratic percentage that, in New Jersey, hadn’t been that low since 1988.