Fair. Balanced. American.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More Coakley

Coakley didn't just fail in getting turnout in minority neighborhoods. She also failed to carry union voters, in no small part because they were never a priority for her campaign:
In the end, Brown pulled off the upset in large part because he won unaffiliated voters by a 73% to 25% margin. The senator-elect also picked up 23% of the vote from Democrats. [Our polling shows that 53% of voters in Massachusetts are Democrats, 21% Republican and 26% not affiliated with either party.]

Coakley also barely carried a usually reliable Democratic constituency. Union workers went for her by just six points, 52% to 46%.


Even though progressive voters didn't turn out for Coakley, this skewed electorate still approved of the President.
Fifty-three percent (53%) approve of the way that Barack Obama has handled his job as President. Thirty-nine percent (39%) approve of the way Deval Patrick has handled his job as governor of Massachusetts.

Thus there was a rather large subgroup of voters who approved of the President but not the governor. These center-left voters are key to winning statewide office in Massachuetts. These are the left-leaning independents  who elected Weld and Romney, in a misguided attempt to check the power of a highly corrupt Legislature and state Democratic Party apparatus. This 15% chunk of the electorate absolutely hated Martha Coakley:
Among those voters who approve of the president’s job performance but disapprove of the governor’s, Brown won 93% to seven percent (7%). These voters accounted for just over 15% of all voters.

A different candidate would have had a shot at that Obama-supporting chunk of the electorate. Even a third of that vote would have kept the seat in Democratic hands. And that's not counting the higher union and minority turnout Capuano or Khazei would have gotten by, you know, bothering to show up to campaign in their neighborhoods.

6 comments :

omen said...

another factor i hear around the edges but don't know the details about is local corruption with the state party? what's that about? not that she was corrupt but sounds like she got tainted by proximity.

omen said...

oh, read too fast. i see you mentioned it.

omen said...

And that's not counting the higher union and minority turnout Capuano or Khazei would have gotten

there has been a slew of protests in the news from union leaders objecting to obama's excise tax as an attack on their benefits. union households could have wanted to send a message by voting against coakley. laura flanders ran a clip i thought damaging - interview of a steel worker union leader protesting obama's excise tax as an attack against the middle class - run on fox news. how many indies were influenced by that?

omen said...

i'm reminded of bush v gore all of a sudden. the fun guy you'd like to have a beer with won while the boring serious wonk lost.

Sini said...

I think we in the left blogosphere have to beware of thinking that most people are attuned to our critiques of specific policies.

Most people who voted for Brown wanted to stop Obama's health care plan because they were misinformed about its contents. As far as they were concerned, it was a power play to give the government power over health care. Most of the people who voted for Coakley wanted her to support health care reform.

To the extent that union voters were put off by Obama's plan, Coakley could have run against the provisions they didn't like. That's what any smart politician would have done, if she had been interested in galvanizing labor support. Democratic elected officials do that all the time. But Coakley didn't.

Senate races are won by individuals, not just parties. Nationalized Senate races would be disastrous for Democrats, because, on average, Democrats win less than half the states. In 2008 Obama won pretty big but still only won 28 states.

Sini said...

Yes... Very much like Bush v Gore or Bush v Kerry. He is unbelievable on TV. I saw his press conference this afternoon. The guy is a star.