Articles and Analysis


MA: Sen Election (Post 1/20-21)

Topics: poll

Washington Post / Kaiser Family Foundation / Harvard School of Public Health
1/20-21/10; 880 Special Election voters, 4% margin of error
242 non-voters, 8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Post release)


State of the Country
31% Right Direction, 63% Wrong Track
Brown voters: 15 / 81
Coakley voters: 49 / 44

Brown voters: Was your Senate vote more for Brown or more against Coakley?
70% For Brown, 25% Against Coakley

Coakley voters: Was your Senate vote more for Coakley or more against Brown?
57% For Coakley, 40% Against Brown

Was one reason for your vote for Senator to express support for Obama, to express opposition to Obama, or was Obama not a factor in your choice?
28% Support, 23% Oppose, 48% Obama not a factor

Was one reason for your vote for Senator to express support for the Democratic agenda in Washington, to express opposition to this, or was the Democratic agenda not a factor in your choice?
34% Support, 35% Oppose, 29% Not a factor

When senator-elect Brown goes to Washington, do you think he should mainly work with the Democrats to try to get some Republican ideas into legislation or should mainly work to stop the Democratic agenda?
82% Work with Democrats, 11% Stop Democratic agenda
On health care: 70% Work with Democrats, 28% Stop changes

Overall, given what you know about them, would you say you support or oppose the proposed changes to the health care system being developed by Congress and the Obama administration?
43% Support, 48% Oppose



So voters want him to work with Democrats but also oppose the bill.



Field Marshal:

Whats the conclusion then from this poll? It looks like it was partially not liking Coakley/really liking Brown and possibly health care. Kind of inconclusive.


Billy Chunge:


Very interesting indeed. Maybe the voters are just as clueless as the politicians and are taking their anger to the polls in frustration. This is an endless viscious cycle. No party will ever be able to be established enough to put forward any meaningful reform.



This shows the election was based largely on likeability or to put it bluntly celebrity contest. Prez Obama was not a factor but the economy, stupid and voters vented their spleens on Coakley on an issue she has no control. Also, Coakley gained 5% net from Prez Obama (28% - 5%). This means she could have lost by double digits. However, she lost because she went to sleep after the primary and took the voters for granted thinking it was her turn. It's unfortunate that things happened they way they happened. Additionally, voters are giving Scott Brown strong message to work with the dems in congress. It would be up to him to decide whether he wants to stay in the senate for a long time, by working with dems or short time, by voting lock-step with his GOP members (excluding Snowe).




you read it wrong. 70% want him to work with Dems on healthcare. Just because 48% oppose the bill doesn't mean that 48% don't want healthcare reform, or even Democratic healthcare reform.

So they don't like the bill, but they want him to work with dems on making a better healthcare bill.



Just like the exit polls in VA, NJ this election had little to do with Obama.

The degree to which pundits on all sides lack historical perspective is staggering.



People clearly know that healthcare needs reform, and want their politicians to do it, but it's unclear that either political party will satisfy them because there's confusion and disagreement on what those reforms should be.

It reminds me of real estate (I guess it could apply to any sales) - the worst clients are those who are unsure what they want, but know what they DON"T want. So they find something they dislike about every house they view. Eventually they have to settle on something less than perfect or else give up the search.

"he degree to which pundits on all sides lack historical perspective is staggering."

I agree. It seems that the news cycle never got out of campaign mode after 2008, so everything that happens is a new sea change, revolution, etc... The 2001 elections in NJ and VA didn't get near the attention the 2009 ones got, even though the circumstances were similar.



In 2001 our country was so focused on 9/11 that the elections in NJ and VA weren't a huge deal. I am thankful that our country hasn[t been attacked under Obama and all terror plots so far have been foiled.

I could be wrong and time will tell, but I do believe that having a president who respects differences and will listen to nations who don't like us, is really improving our image in the world.



Next time someone I know personally who is running for high office, if it ever happens to be again, I'll make a list of things not to do in a election.


al of arabia:

That's right - Dems continue to get their butts handed to them in recent elections and none of it has to do with Obama. It's just the "weak candidates". In the current environment don't expect your candidates to get any better. Any Dem with brains will bypass the 2010 election and wait to see what the landscape is in 2012.



al of arabia

In 2001-2002 Bush was super popular and Repubs gained in the mid-terms, so why did they lose in DEEP RED(at the time) VA and light blue NJ?

Why did Repubs lose the Senate in 1986 when the economy was booming and Reagan was popular?

You guys are reacting from emotion without the
benefit of reason. The electorate that turned out for the MA election was more right-leaning than those that turned out in '08; nonetheless, Obama had a 61% approval rating among them.

In NJ too Obama had a 57% approval rating according to exit polls among a more right-leaning than those that turned out in '08. Both Obama and Susan Collins won by landslides in Maine in '08. How could that be? Romney lost to the super liberal Ted Kennedy in '94 despite a massive Repub wave. Why is that?

There is nothing amazing about a Repub winning in MA. Repubs controlled the Governorship in MA from 1991 to 2007 despite the fact that Dems owned MA in presidential cycles. The most popular governor in the country is a democrat in deep red WYOMING!

How do you explain all these anachronistic facts?



I think Obama has to be firm about taking wall street and passing a strong bill, passing climate change, and most essential is to pass some sort of health care plan, by reconciliation. America right now isn't excited about Republican policies, and the Dems have control over their own destiny. If Dems lose the house and senate in 2011 it will be their own fault. When you start to legislate a policy like health care, it drains people when nothing is accomplished. I am a progressive and I wouldn't approve of the current senate bill either. when you don't accomplish what you want you lose your supporters, and this time around the GOP isn't going to do anything to dazzle voters, all they have to do is say no to everything Obama does. It is Obama's duty to take charge and continue to put priority on the two most pressing issues, including terrorism. Health care is indeed the trademark issue that Obama must continue to achieve.



I meant "taking on wall street" not taking wall street for Obama. If he used the phrase taking wall street than he would certainly be a marxist....lol


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