Even with the new ARG poll, Coakley still with an 83% chance to win

by: Chris Bowers

Sat Jan 16, 2010 at 02:14

New ARG poll.  New Massachusetts polling chart:

Massachusetts special election polling, 2010
Pollster Poll Mid-date Coakley Brown
Black Rock Jan 14 39 54
ARG Jan 13 45 48
Research 2000 Jan 13 49 41
Suffolk Jan 12 46 50
Rasmussen Jan 11 49 47
Mellman Jan 09 50 36
PPP Jan 08 47 48
UNH Jan 04 53 36
Rasmussen Jan 04 50 41
Mean Jan 15 47.56 44.56

A 3.00% lead for Coakley gives her an 83% chance of victory, according to my numbers. To put it a different way, of the 143 closest elections from 2004-2009, in 48 cases the final polling margin differed from the final result by 3.00% or more.  This means the candidate leading by 3.00% has an 83% chance of victory.

Does this conflict with other election forecasters right now?  Of course!  In fact, the main reason I rolled out my new election forecasting method today, along with the research backing it up, it precisely because it conflicts with other election forecasters.  I had been excited about this new methodology for a while, but what better time to introduce it then when it conflicts with virtually all other election forecasters?

I could end up looking like an idiot.  It wouldn't be the first time.  However, I believe there is strong evidence that this is the most accurate method currently available.  Right now, my numbers still put Coakley at a clear advantage, and I am kind excited that everyone disagrees with me (which, in my experience, usually means I will end up looking like an idiot).

Chris Bowers :: Even with the new ARG poll, Coakley still with an 83% chance to win

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I don't know (0.00 / 0)
The trend lines look absolutely atrocious for Coakley.

Hopefully she'll win, but your chart's data set is rather useless considering recent movement.

I am genuinely conflicted (4.00 / 2)
On the one hand I want Coakley to win and for Obama and the Democrats to push through some version of health care, even if it's a piece of crap, because if they don't, the assholes on cable TV will pummel this as an epic failure for democrats.

On the other hand, I want Coakley to lose on the off chance that Democrats will finally use reconciliation to get a decent version of health care through to save face, if, indeed, we could count on them to do so.

On the third hand, I want Coakley to win because it would be an astonishing thing if Bowers kicks all those other pollsters' asses.

Yeah I'm rooting for Chris in the polling wars (0.00 / 0)
Not because I'm particularly interested in it - I don't understand his methodology one bit, nor do I care to - but because it'd be awesome for Chris and for Open Left.

As far as the actual politics I'm as conflicted as you are, except that another reason Coakley should lose is so we can get a better Democrat in 2012. (This could happen even if Coakley wins, but it's much less possible/likely.)

[ Parent ]
I should amend that statement (4.00 / 1)
I'd still prefer Coakley winning.  But I'm not excited about or rooting hard for her campaign like I would've been for Capuano, or for Brunner in OH or Winograd in CA-36.  Coakley's another tepid, "mainstream" Democrat that we HAVE to vote for rather than we WANT to vote for.  And for Ted Kennedy's seat?  What a shame.

[ Parent ]
Too true (0.00 / 0)
I'll be doing some GOTV, but will not be nearly as active as I would have been had Capuano been our candidate.  It's hard to drag yourself out there and convince people to vote for someone you have no enthusiasm for.  I'm sure Coakley will be an appropriate yes stamp on most of the important issues, but she'll never be a liberal lion - and on civil liberties, where we need the most help, I honestly think she'd take the other side.

Bottom line: "Oh, but we need 60 votes because Democrats in Congress are too weak-willed to change undemocratic Senate rules" just isn't a compelling argument.  

[ Parent ]
I wonder (0.00 / 0)
I think if Coakley loses, that story alone will suck all the media attention going forward; health care reform probably gets lost in the larger story about 'Democrat on the precipice of total disaster' going into 2010 election season. I'd prefer that story. Not sure what the idiots in charge in the Democratic Party will do, but maybe they'll get off their asses and do something to, you know, actually make voters feel better. Maybe not, but whatever happens would better than watching the whole thing slowly collapse for the Democrats until next November as it appears to be doing now.

(No, I don't think passing the crap health care bill will help. It's going to take Democratic voters about a month after it passes to figure out we've been screwed, and it'll be all down hill from there for Democrats this election.)

[ Parent ]
I hope you don't end up looking like an idiot chris... (4.00 / 1)
I hope you end up golden.

Weather is predicted to be good... warm (for January) and sunny...  good to get the old Kennedy democrats out.

I hope they come out... Coakley is an atrocious gaffe machine, but she's all we've got right now, and I hope she can close in the end...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

Well, Chris, but the election is on Jan 19, not Jan 14! (4.00 / 1)
Your method evidently provides good results by using the average of the ten days before the election. But the election is on January 19, and if I calculate the average including the Jan 9 poll, I get a result of C 46.33 vs B 46 now. And if I exclude that Mellman poll, I even get C 45.6 vs. B 48! Since new polls coming in in the next three days certainly won't be very positive for Coakley, imho it's safe to assume that the final prediction, using your method, actually will show a toss up, if not a lead for Brown. That's not a reassuring outlook...

Oops, sry, my mistake, Chris uses the 15 day average. (0.00 / 0)
I remembered this the wrong way (really should start to look everything up before relying on my crappy memory). So, to include the Jan 04 polls is correct, when using his method. However, his empirical numbers show that there is only a miniscule difference in accuracy between using a 15 day average and a 10 day one. And in this case, the latter one shows a tossup (46.3 vs 46) instead of a 2.89 lead. A reason to stay careful and not to bet the car, the house and the wife on the outcome...

[ Parent ]
Chaos factor. (4.00 / 2)
This is starting to remind me of Feingold's 1992 open seat Primary. the big money guys, Congressman Moody and a self-funder hospital tycoon named  Checota spent huge sums tearing each other down, and as little known State Senator who'd spent all of $200,000 finished with 70%. Not saying Kennedy will pull that kind of numbers, or even win (he's no Jesse Ventura), but both Coakley and Brown will hemorrhage votes his way in the closing days. Winner won't break 45%.

This is a Test of the Emergency Free Speech System. This is only a Test. In an actual Free Speech Emergency, I'll be locked up.

Good point (0.00 / 0)
If MA could get a Feingold, they'd be doing pretty well for themselves.

[ Parent ]
All I Hope (4.00 / 2)
is that Kennedy comes out of this election with double digits. Coakley is the establishment Obama candidate, and Brown, of course, is a jerk.
The question is, do you really want the message to Obama and Rahm to be: "Love your corporation insurance plan so much, we just gave you the 60th vote." Hell, no, we don't. At least, I don't. I can't even look at or listen to this man who picked up where George Bush left off. Watch him go after our Social Security--GW's dream--next.

comments I read from people who are phone-banking (4.00 / 1)
make me feel much less optimistic. Presumably the phone banks are using lists of Ds.

I think Coakley blew this one, and the DSCC last-minute assault backfired. Time for a new approach to negative advertising.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

desmoinesdem (0.00 / 0)
Not to be negative, but I have been making calls using list supplied OFA, off and on past week, and this AM.  What you are hearing is right, she has NO energy, like yelling at an jet engine.

I believe the Red Sox gaffe may be only the tip of the situation, but if anyone thinks time is on her side, they are wrong.  The longer she goes, and speaks the worse off, not being overdramatic, but based on telephone calling, I am not putting any money down for her.

This thing needs to be wrapped up, and used to demonstrate how to loose an election, a progressive in a progressive state....geez.  When this is over, everyone should just move along, nothing to see here.  Brown won't make it past 2012 is the silver lining.

[ Parent ]
I don't get the point of this exercise (0.00 / 0)

My sympathies are not in doubt.  I support the passage of the Health Care Reform bill as the crumbs it truly is, primarily because it's past time to move on from here to the next battle, and if I lived in Massachusetts I'd vote for Coakley and I hope she wins.  Then we need to seriously assess where we are at this moment and move on from here.  We need more than the opportunity for endless venting of ultimately impotent rage.

That said, I don't see the need that Chris does for poll analysis.  Someone has to do it, but I'm not sure that having a ideological dog in the fight helps the effort, which is inherently of short-term interest.  By next Tuesday there will be none.  And I wish Chris had something else to talk about.

The open Left does not need a sharper form of poll "science", it needs a different attitude.  It needs a way to muster the determination to slog on when things are bad - something to replace the effect that a mistaken belief in "scientific socialism" had on earlier radicals.

Read any book on the era and the contrasts with the disappointmnets of the present day could not be more stark.  Quite simply, today's disappointments aren't worth talking about compared with, say, the McCarthy Era, or even what's happening right now in Haiti.

And I heartily endorse this piece by Digby.

What precipitated my post is an intense impatience with this endless, cynical posturing about how everything's rigged and there's no point in anything. That's fine if you think that, plenty of people do, but I can't for the life of me figure out why you aren't watching a sporting event or playing a video game instead of commenting on a political blog. The only thing I can assume is that you want to bully people who still give a damn and that's just jackass behavior.

I realize this has moved off topic from  Chris's piece, but we're all getting stuff off our chests here.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

funny (0.00 / 0)
"...and I am kind excited that everyone disagrees with me...."

Mathematics Changed Last Week (0.00 / 0)

More weight has to put on the most recent polls because, since last week, there was an "external force" that that changed the mathematics - that force was the addition of $6,000,000 to Brown's campaign which wasn't there before.

Just from an academic point of view (0.00 / 0)
(and I know there's a LOT at stake here, so no flaming) this is a fascinating race. For example:

670,000 Democrats turned out on Dec 8 for the primary, and Coakley won easily despite running against a popular, liberal U.S. Rep. Only 160,000 turned up for Brown in his primary (although he had a lesser opponent).

Now, there hasn't been a statewide special election perhaps ever in that state, so the closest thing we have to compare is off year federal elections. The last two such Senatorial affairs, in 2002 and 2006, both produced about 2 million voters. But those were regularly scheduled November elections. This is a January (of all times) special. Which means a GOOD turnout would be about 1.4 million.

See where I'm going here? Coakley's bar is incredibly low. If she can just turn out the people who voted in the primary (and they vote for her), Brown needs a turnout of about 1.4 million just to stay even, and that assumes he gets every single voter who didn't show up in Dec.

One of two things is going on: Either the supporters of the losing primary Dems don't show up Tuesday or show up to vote for Brown (which would be very odd indeed) or the polls are wrong. In either case, it would seem Brown needs a HIGHER turnout to win, not lower as the polls say. Something's wrong!

We'll see.

you aren't suggesting that... (0.00 / 0)
all Democrats that voted in the primary would turn out again to vote for Coakley are you?

[ Parent ]
20% of Dem's Support Brown? (0.00 / 0)
Even if the new ARG poll were dead-on accurate, if 20% of Dem's say they're planning to vote for Brown that's probably the most movable chunk of his support. And if 44% of likely voters are Democrats, they wouldn't have to move it much.

I think I'll be surprised if Coakley doesn't win this. But of course, I've been surprised before.


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