Monday, January 18, 2010

Blue state to go Brown, give Joe the blues

"Let us not be downhearted. One total catastrophe like this is just the beginning." - Monty Python's Life of Brian

I've correctly predicted the outcome of the last 68 US Senate races. I've got to be wrong some time. Please, oh please let it be now.

Prediction: Scott Brown (R) to defeat Martha Coakley (D) in tomorrow's Massachusetts Senate race.

All the big prognosticators have called it. Rothenberg, Charlie Cook, Intrade and Nate Silver all say Brown will carry the day.

Could the stakes be any higher? No, they couldn't. If Brown wins, the Democratic Senate caucus loses their filibuster-beating 60th seat. The final vote on the Health Care Reform bill will be severely jeopardized. President Obama put his reputation on the line by campaigning for Coakley, so did a lot of other big name Democrats. A Brown victory will frighten a lot of Democratic incumbents up for reelection this November, possibly spurring a bunch of retirements. And of course the unkindest cut of all: a Republican capturing Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

I'm already outlining some "why Coakley lost" bullet points. There's a chance of course (say, 1-in-4) that I'll get to write a "how Coakley proved everybody wrong" post. I think her strongest hope is the fact that in close elections, Democrats tend to outperform their polling numbers by a couple of points in blue states, and Republicans do the same in red states. So take Nate Silver's prediction of a two-point Brown victory, give Coakley an extra two points, and there you go.

Election night update:

Ghost of John F. Kennedy: "Ted, I thought you quit drinking."
Ghost of Ted Kennedy: "I did, Jack, I did. But tonight I need one."