Scott Brown increases lead on Martha Coakley on eve of Massachusetts Senate vote

Jon Ward Contributor
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Republican Scott Brown appears to be pulling away from Democrat Martha Coakley on the eve of Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts, according to polls released Monday.

A Suffolk University poll of three “bellwether” towns, conducted Saturday and Sunday, showed Brown with leads of 17, 16 and 14 points in Peabody, Gardner and Fitchburg, respectively.

“There’s nothing totally certain, but all of the indicators are leaning strongly in Brown’s favor,” David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center in Boston, told The Daily Caller. “This bellwether model is a pretty strong indicator that Brown will prevail.”

An InsiderAdvantage poll conducted for Politico on Sunday night showed Brown leading 52 percent to 43 percent.

Despite a visit by President Obama to Boston on Sunday to boost Coakley’s prospects, InsiderAdvantage chief executive Matt Towery told Politico that “the bottom is falling out” of Coakley’s campaign.

One poll released Monday did go against the general trend of the last few days. A Research2000 survey conducted for the liberal blog DailyKos showed the two candidates tied at 48 percent each.

Even there, however, Brown had gained 8 points compared to the last poll conducted by Research2000 last week.

Nate Silver, the political statistician at fivethirtyeight.com who correctly predicted the outcome of all 35 U.S. Senate races in 2008, gave Brown a 74 percent chance of winning on Tuesday.

“Coakley’s odds are substantially worse than they appeared to be 24 hours ago, when there were fewer credible polls to evaluate and there appeared to be some chance that her numbers were bottoming out and perhaps reversing,” Silver wrote.

Silver, however, wrote that his mathematical modeling “may be too slow to incorporate new information and may understate the magnitude of the trend toward Brown.”

Before any of the three polls were released on Monday, Pollster.com co-founder Charles Franklin wrote that “the only reasonable conclusion” from poll data over the past few days “is that Scott Brown has moved from well behind to a lead somewhere between 4 and 11 points.”

A Public Policy Polling survey released just before midnight on Sunday, hours after Obama swooped into the state to try and save Coakley’s candidacy and health-care reform, showed Brown up 51 percent to 46 percent.

The overall polling trend shows that desperate attempts by Democrats to drag Brown down by throwing almost any negative charge at him they could think of was having no effect.

Brown now looks poised to pull off one of the biggest political upsets in recent history. Such an outcome would be doubly shocking given the stakes for the national party — Brown’s vote in the Senate would enable Republicans to block the president’s health-care reform bill and may end up killing it all together.