High Anxiety: Dems And The Senate Race

The New York Times reports on the anxiety gripping Massachusetts Democrats in the run-up to the Jan. 19 special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. The Times' Abby Goodnough notes that while AG Martha Coakley was initially expected to handily sweep the election against her GOP rival Scott Brown, that is now less likely to happen. A new poll shows the race as much more competitive, though the Times says that the methodology used in that poll doesn't meet their standards. Still, Goodnough writes:

A Brown win remains improbable, given that Democrats outnumber Republicans by 3 to 1 in the state and that Ms. Coakley, the state’s attorney general, has far more name recognition, money and organizational support.

But a tighter-than-expected margin in the closely watched race would still prompt soul-searching among Democrats nationally, since the outcome will be the first real barometer of whether problems facing the party will play out in tangible ways at the polls later this year.

“If I had to bet a week’s salary,” said Dennis Hale, a political science professor at Boston College, “I’d still bet it on Coakley. But this is going to be like in the military, where the bullet misses you but it still scares you to death.”

This program aired on January 8, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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