This is a good test of my thinking. Am I looking at politics and thinking about this election rationally, or am I just being an optimist, hoping that voters are still sensible people who won’t elect candidates from the Beavis and Batshit wing of the Republican Party? Okay, I’m going to take a deep breath, and say this: Coakley wins by 10%. The third party candidate gets 3%. Massachusetts is a Democratic state.
Really, no one who works in politics can predict an individual election with any degree of confidence, not an election where both candidates have wide recognition and have run credible campaigns, meaning they’ve reached most voters several times. I base this on a simple premise: anyone who actually could consistently predict these elections would be making their living betting on them, would be rich, and we wouldn’t be hearing from them on websites or on the news.
You can only know what usually happens, what is most likely to be true, what would be a practically unprecedented result. Don’t go searching through the evidence for secret portents or unique local factors. If you do, you’ll be a very smart person who ends up saying some very silly things.
Doug Kahn is almost alone in his prediction. The up-and-coming predictor master of the universe is Nate Silver. He gives Brown 3-to-1 odds to win. Many predictors have Brown up by more than 10%.
Kahn has this to say about Silver's situation:
For instance, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com said 2 weeks ago that Scott Brown’s chance of winning was about 5%. Then, after another one of those completely bogus Rasmussen polls of “likely voters” he tweeted that Scotty had a 15-25% chance of winning. But wait, the Boston Globe poll then said Coakley was going to be okay, and he changed his mind again.
I think it’s quite likely that Nate Silver’s reputation (deserved or not) as a Brainiac has caused some very dishonest pollsters to try and figure out how to affect his opinion. If they can get Nate to say the race is a toss-up it helps get resources for Scott Brown, and gives him more tv coverage, gets people to the polls.
Logically, you need some pretty firm evidence to outweigh the recent voting history of the Massachusetts electorate. Both Senators and all 10 House members are Democrats. And the governor, and both houses of the legislature. So Coakley, the Democrat, is heavily favored to win to begin with. In 2006 she was elected statewide to Attorney General, and got more votes than Ted Kennedy, who was at the top of the ballot.
What’s the evidence against? Automated internet polling done of supposedly likely voters by provably biased organizations, namely Rasmussen, ARG, and the laughable Pajamas Media poll that has Scott Brown up by 15%. Follow the reasoning behind getting the morons in the media to believe Scott is winning: since Coakley was heavily favored, there must be a movement to the right in the country, people are really sick of Democrats, and so on and so forth.
Neither of these candidates inspires me. We'll see, eh?