A Republican hasn't won a Massachusetts Senate race since 1972, but Sean Trende writes at Real Clear Politics that GOP State Sen. Scott Brown has a better chance of pulling off an upset in the January 19 special election than you'd think. Trende takes the average swing in the Virginia and New Jersey electorates between the 2008 presidential contest and the 2009 gubernatorial races, and runs the numbers in the Massachusetts Senate race:
if we take a 38%D, 19%R, 42%D electorate and have [Democratic AG Martha] Coakley win 90% of the Democrats, 4% of Republicans and 38% of Independents, we come out with an exceedingly close 51.06-48.9% Coakley win. I did not expect that.
Trende offers a few caveats: Massachusetts is more liberal than VA and NJ; Senate races are more partisan than gubernatorial races; and Scott Brown isn't well-known statewide.
"So at the end of the day, you can still place me pretty firmly in the 'will be stunned if Brown wins' category," Trende concludes. "That said, I wouldn't be bowled over if the race was much closer than it should be, perhaps in the 54%-46% range."
Last week, the boss wondered what might happen if Brown made the election a referendum on Obamacare and there were a big independent expenditure to help make the point that a victory for Brown would stop Obamacare. Well, Brown is now saying, "I could be the 41st senator that could stop the Obama proposal that's being pushed right now through Congress." With a $2.5 trillion government takeover of health care on the line, isn't it worth it for Republicans to spend a good chunk of money on this race?