A Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll released yesterday showed remarkably high support for Scott Brown, especially among two groups that many would assume to be sure bets for Martha Coakley: women and youth.
Just over a year ago, both demographics strongly supported Barack Obama. Among women, 56 percent voted for the president, and young voters supported him by a roughly 2-to-1 margin.
This poll, however, shows that 49.5 percent of women support Brown, while only 46.1 percent plan to vote for his female opponent. Any margin of victory for Brown among women would be notable, especially given the harsh tone of the attack ads being run against Brown by Coakley and the Democrats, which accuse him of wanting hospitals to turn away all rape victims. Brown’s own daughters, aged 19 and 21, took to the airwaves in a radio ad to defend their father against attacks that he supports policies that hurt women.
Even more astonishing is that the Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll shows 61 percent of voters aged 18-29 support Scott Brown (versus just 30 percent of the same category that endorses Coakley). Could it be that young voters are feeling some buyer’s remorse over a president who seems intent on saddling their generation with debt racked up by “stimulus” after “stimulus” and government-run health care? Could the generation that helped elect this president be the one that will take away the filibuster-proof Senate from the Democrats?
Unfortunately, formal exit polls will not be conducted in Massachusetts today, since no one expected such a close election until recently, so voter demographics won't be available right away. But when the data is released, the Republican Party should be watching – and learning lessons from Scott Brown’s campaign strategy.