Coakley has SOME chance

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 12:47

I want to reiterate something Nate Silver wrote last night: although Scott Brown is the favorite, he is by no means a 100% lock to win.  This is the case across all forecasting models:

  • On, Charles Franklin looks at 18 forecasting models for the campaign, all of which show Brown ahead.  However, a lead in a forecasting model, even across 18 forecasting models, is still not a lock.

    Franklin says that the standard estimate for shows Brown ahead by 6.2% (although the chart at says 6.9%).  In the 55 closest (under 17.0% estimate) statewide elections from 2008-2009, there were 5 instances where's standard Loess regression estimate missed the final results by more than 6.2%, and 4 instances where it was missed the final results by more than 6.9%. That would give Martha Coakley a 4% chance to win if the lead is 6.9%, and a 5% chance to win if the lead is 6.2%.

  • On 538, Coakley is given a 25% chance to win, and Brown an estimated advantage of 2.2%.  That squares with my estimate of Nate's error rate.  Based on Nate's 2008 results and a deficit of 2.2%, Coakley would have a 24% chance to win.

  • And finally, my model gives Coakley a 35% chance to win (although, in this specific case, I actually think it is less, around 31%, given the recent trendline).
4%, 5%, 25%, 31%, 35%--none of these are great chance for Coakley, but they are still chances.  This campaign has not reached the 10% range, at which point the odds of victory would be reduced to zero (at least in an election pitting a Democrat vs. a Republican).

Weather is bad, but turnout appears high anyway.  Whether it is high in Brown areas or Coakley areas is anecdotal and not entirely clear, but Boston does have high turnout.  The standard line has been that higher turnout helps Coakley.

Another point of hope for Coakley is that no polling was conducted yesterday.  Brown's support is very new, and thus very soft.  As such, it is possible there has been some movement back in her direction since Sunday night.  Public opinion does not follow physical laws, and just because a candidate was trending upward does not mean that candidate will continue to trend upward.

My best estimate, based on the available data, is that Brown will win by between 0.9% and 2.7%.  However, no matter which way you look at it, Coakley does still have a chance.  Not a good chance, but a chance none the less.

Chris Bowers :: Coakley has SOME chance

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It's about the discipline and drive (0.00 / 0)
to use the weapons of peace, especially if one eschews the weapons of war.

Even in November, GOTV can win the day. It may be the only thing. Remember "with our shields or on them"?

Let's not wait till the last minute next time, it starts now.

Turnout (0.00 / 0)
As Nate put it very cautiously on Twitter this morning

Most careful way to put it is this: all the scenarios that involve Coakley having a shot of winning involve high turnout.

Which is to say, that (using his 25% figure) that low turnout would have meant an almost 0% chance of Coakley's winning, and high turnout therefore means slightly greater than 25% chance.  How much greater is, I think, indeterminable without harder data on how many people are voting where.

-- Stu

Coakley Can win (0.00 / 0)
For Coakley to win she needs African Americans to amount to at least 13% of the electorate and she needs the 18-29 vote to be at least 14% of the electorate. Both can happen. In the latter group she needs to get close to the percentage in the DKOS poll among the 18-29 group (she leads by 26 in that group in that poll, only by 11 in the PPP poll).  In '06 the 18-29 group was 11% of the electorate but Patrick's margin in that group 44%.  In '08 the 18-29 group was 17% of the electorate and Obama's margin in that group was 58%.  My guess is that there are a fair number of marginal young Democratic voters, and if Coakley gets them to the polls both her percentage among the group will go up, and the percentage of the youth vote in the electorate will go up.

This is also the group with the highest unemployment, and I am very worried that this fact will make the group less likely to vote and less Democratic in November.  This piece in the Boston Globe this morning is worrying both for this race and for November.

I think the chance of an upset is bigger than people think.  But Brown's margin among independents/moderates I don't think will go down because it is based on perceptions about the economy.

I do not hear good things about the turnout in Roxbury where it needs to be big.  I think there is a real chance Brown wins by 10 or more.

My Message to Massachusetts Marijuana smokers (0.00 / 0)
We all know Coakley sucks. She crusaded against the Massachusetts decrim initiative in 2008, and after it passed with 65% of the vote urged municipal governments to circumvent it with local ordinances. She then refused to pursue charges against the District Attorneys who illegally used government resources to campaign against the initiative.  

So why do I want you to vote for her?  

Simple. Brown in the Senate will be just as bad on the issue, but by sending Coakley to Washinhgton we get her out of the Attorney General's office, while Brown remaining in the State Senate will have little impact.

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.

How do the polls weight party ID? (0.00 / 0)


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