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538 Still Rates Massachusetts as Toss-up (Projects 49.2-48.6 Coakley win)

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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:59 PM
Original message
538 Still Rates Massachusetts as Toss-up (Projects 49.2-48.6 Coakley win)
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 07:59 PM by jefferson_dem
538 Still Rates Massachusetts as Toss-up
by Nate Silver @ 8:35 PM

Please don't be too enthralled with/scared by the specific numbers below. They're based a number of assumptions which may not be valid. However, I agree with the characterization that the model comes to, which is that the Massachusetts special election should continue to be regarded as a toss-up.

Been a while since we've posted one of those charts on here, eh? What this reflects is simply our 2008 Senate model, which while being less sophisticated in a number of ways than our Presidential model, nevertheless managed to call all the races correctly. After allocating the undecided voters, the model very tentatively shows a 49.2-48.6 Coakley win, with 2.2 percent of the vote going to third-party candidates.

Now then: why might this projection be totally wrong?

First, this was a model developed for a regular November election, when the Massachusetts election is a special. I've often made the analogy between special elections and primaries. If I were to design a model for primaries, I would (i) probably place a greater emphasis on recency and; (ii) almost certainly account for the greater uncertainty in primary polling.

If we were to weight the recent polls more than we do, this would tend to benefit Scott Brown. And perhaps we should be doing that ...

At the same time, it should be kept in mind that a lot of Brown's support is pretty new, which would ordinarily imply that it is pretty soft. Yes, I know there's a core of people -- maybe a fairly large core -- who are really, really excited about Scott Brown. But they only get to vote once apiece. And what the earlier polling established is that it's almost certainly not 50 percent of the electorate -- it might be 35 percent or 40 percent, but it's not 50 percent. He still needs some swing voters to get him over the finish line. Some of those voters were probably tending to swing toward Brown over the last 7-10 days, when he was winning virtually every news cycle. But the headlines in the last 72 hours -- the ones that those voters will be thinking about as they head into the ballot booth -- may be a bit more even-handed (especially given Obama's visit, etc.), and a voter who has swing once may swing again.

<SNIP>

So, that's how the numbers got to where they got to. It's certainly tempting to take the Ockham's Razor argument for Brown -- "look at the trendlines, duuuude!" -- which has become the conventional wisdom even if nobody is saying it. And it's perhaps just as tempting to play the role of the contrarian, sort of buy the rumor and sell the news, and insist that Coakley will leg it out. But for the time being -- and subject to change based on last-minute polling -- I'm not comfortable with any characterization of this race other than too close to call.

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/01/fivethityeight-s...
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KingFlorez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. I hope that he is right
It's narrow, but I'll take it
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Jennicut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. It will be a close one. It all depends on who turns out.
No one should worry about the rain/snow on Tuesday. We are used to that weather around New England. People around here are expected to go to work with pretty much any weather.
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HughMoran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. I trust Nate's perspective over most any other n/t
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backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:14 PM
Response to Original message
4. Very close.
Though my Gut of Truthiness thinks Coakley will win this one. Momentum's starting to come back our way after a week of Brown taking the news cycles. The Democratic base in MA are waking up and coming home - they're realizing that a teabagger's dangerously close to winning Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, and are going all out to keep that from happening.

That and a lot of the more recent polls tend to have a bit of a right-wing bias, especially Suffolk.
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wisteria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. As long as it goes in Coakley favor- I would love to see a huge turn out in her favor
and I believe it may still happen. But, a win is a win!!! And that is what is important.
I just can not fathom Massachusetts being taken in by Mr. Chippendale/Brown.
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. It's all about the moderates and independents--and how disillusioned or lazy they are.
The base will turn out; the fringe will turn out. It's the voters in the middle who put Obama over, who put New Jersey's Jon Corzine on the shelf, and will decide if voting at all will be worth the trouble.


rocktivity
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burning rain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
7. .6% isn't typically much of a margin of comfort, but in 2008, Silver had it down to .1%.
Clearly he's had less time to model this one, but there's good and realistic reason to hope he's right, given his stellar track record.

GO, MARTHA!
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Arkana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. He's very good at it, for sure.
He called every state correctly in 2008 except Indiana and Missouri.
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FVZA_Colonel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Even Indiana was kind of a "toss-up state."
I remember he had shaded it red on his map, but the lightest shade possible.
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Betty Karlson Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 05:11 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. Excellent.
Good news, in the nick of time, from a reliable pollster. Just what we need. NOW GET OUT THAT VOTE!
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WeDidIt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
8. A 0.5% margin is an automatic recount in MA
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 09:15 PM by WeDidIt
IF it's that tight, the election won't be called for months on end.

Democrats will be able to cite the Franken precedent to refuse seating Brown even if he has the most votes on election night.
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nsd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:14 AM
Response to Original message
11. 538 updated to include latest PPP poll.
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:50 AM
Response to Original message
12. Recommend
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backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:53 AM
Response to Original message
13. K&R
The race is very, very, very close right now. Don't let the polls lead you to believe all is lost - they're all over the map, and even Nate Silver's mathematical crystal ball can't tell us what's going to happen.

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davidpdx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:41 AM
Response to Original message
14. Go NATE!
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