Two week ago, the polls stood at roughly 60-40. Now, I have no doubt that for that 40% of the state, or 3/4 of Brown’s ultimate votes, feelings ran much as my friend feels. And I understand those feelings. I’m upset over what happened in the Senate as well. Lieberman and Nelson, I’m looking at you!
But a remarkable thing happened in the last 2 weeks. 12% of the commonwealth “defected” from Coakley to Brown. That’s nearly 1 out of every four Brown votes. Why? Nothing happened in those two weeks, nationally. The Christmas Eve vote/debacle was well behind us (by two weeks) before the polls showed any signs of swinging.
What happened in those two weeks was that Coakley started campaigning. The voters got to know Coakley the Senate candidate (as opposed to Coakley the AG). The race went from “generic democrat v. Brown” to “Coakley v. Brown”. And people did not like Coakley-between the gaffes about Schilling, disdaining the idea of asking for votes outside Fenway, and just plain starting the general campaign late (thus playing into the idea that she thought she had it in the bag and was taking the commonwealth for granted).
So that’s a big part of it. The other big factor is that money started flowing to Brown’s campaign across the country once the scent of blood was in the water. Brown was thus able to campaign well while Coakley… didn’t.
As I heard Vicki Kennedy saying the other day in something of a criticism of Martha Coakley, Ted always asked for people’s votes. That’s what Brown did, and what Coakley effectively did not.
(NB: These are not my opinions of Coakley per se; these are the opinions of the commonwealth of her, as I perceive them, both from the media and talking with some Brown voters.)