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Kristol: Mass. Senate Update

Warming up in the Bay State.

1:06 PM, Jan 14, 2010 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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For what it’s worth:

Kristol: Mass. Senate Update

A partisan snow bank shows its colors under a Massachusetts mailbox.

1.  Private polling (admittedly, for pro-Brown groups—but by serious pollsters who are trying to get it right) shows, I am told, continued momentum in Brown’s favor. Brown’s favorable/unfavorable seems to be holding up so far under the Democrats’ assault, while Coakley’s fav/unfav has deteriorated in the last week. And everything one can see about the campaign (in particular, the fact that Coakley has gone so negative in her ads) suggests that her campaign either thinks Brown is ahead or is on a course to go ahead if the momentum isn’t reversed.

2. In addition to going negative, the Coakley campaign is going to be playing the Kennedy card the final days (Ted Kennedy’s widow has cut an ad). It’s not clear this will work, though—I’m told that when asked whether they want someone in Washington who will maintain the Kennedy legacy or embrace new ideas, “new ideas” prevails among Massachusetts voters.

3. A Boston friend whose political judgment I trust reports:

- The airwaves are blanketed with negative ads attacking Scott Brown.
 Frankly, I think that most of them are so over the top that they are
 unlikely to be productive. I don't think that people really believe
 that he doesn't care about rape victims, kids' education, etc. But the 
SEIU went up with an ad, yesterday, at least part of which could
 be effective—talking about how he voted with GOP
 leadership 96% of the time.
 

- The general view around here is that Coakley appears somewhat 
desperate and shell-shocked.  And she's definitely become the brunt of
 jokes for saying she has no idea what happened to John McCormack when 
there's the picture of her standing over him splayed on the ground.  (By 
the way, does he get combat pay?)

- Brown having had his daughters take on the charge that he doesn't care 
about rape victims (first in a press conference then in a radio ad) has 
played very well. There is an amazing number of people who have a soft
spot for his daughter Ayla, who is somewhat of a cult hero in Boston for 
her successful appearance on American Idol a few years ago.

- Brown's ads are really well-done and he has clearly decided that there 
is more of an advantage in sticking with the positive good guy approach
 as opposed to going negative against Coakley. And he's probably right.
 But friendlies really need to be taking Coakley down with negative ads 
that all but write themselves  ("Martha Coakley is trying to tear Scott
 Brown down through vicious negative ads because she doesn't want to talk 
about her positions.  For example ..."). 

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