Monday, May 6, 2013

June in Massachusetts

In 2010, Scott Brown upset his Democratic opponent in a special election for a Senate seat.  This was seen as a giant upset in liberal Massachusetts.  Not too long after that upset, the Tea Party wave started and we saw the Democrats lose control of Congress.  In 2013, there is another special election in Massachusetts, are we in store for another upset?

If you are a Republican in Massachusetts and you want to get elected to a statewide office, you want to be fairly moderate or at least say you are going to vote independently.  This will allow you to win over independents, of which there are a lot, and win over a few Democrats.  You also want there to be a lower turnout such as a special election.

Well, according to Public Policy Polling, most of these things are happening.  Gabriel Gomez (41/27) has a chance of winning the 2013 special election over Ed Markey (44/41).  Gomez only trails Markey by 4 points (44-40).  Gomez is winning with 21% of Democrats with 68% going with Markey.  Gomez is doing well with independents, too; he's winning with 47% of Independents while Markey only has 31% of their support.  Gomez's support from Democrats suggests that those who voted for Stephen Lynch in the primary might not support Markey in the election.

Public Policy Polling estimates that the electorate for this special election will be slightly more Conservative and Republican leaning than the electorate in the 2012 presidential election.  If this holds up in June, Gomez has a shot to pull another upset. 

In order to avoid this upset, the Democratic party in Massachusetts needs to focus on get out the vote efforts to try and get Democrats voting in a special election.  If Gomez wants to continue the upset bid, he should continue his efforts to portray himself as an independent thinker and trying to make it less likely for Democrats to come out to vote. Or just try to stay in the middle and nab the more conservative members of the Democratic party. 

My guess is that Gomez continues to run as an outsider candidate and  by focusing his campaign on being an independent thinker/voter while Markey is a product of the Democratic party and a longstanding member of Congress.  This way of thinking is likely to appeal to a lot of people who might support Gomez in the upcoming election.

At this point, I think it's likely that Markey will win the election.  If I was setting odds, it would be about 53/47 chance or so.  As we get closer, we might get to see the upswing for Gomez. 

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