I’m trying not to get depressed about today’s election until it actually happens, but it’s difficult. The hope I’m clinging to is that the polls are basically worthless because of wild self-selection bias. Those of you not in MA have no idea how annoying this last week has been, with constant calls from both sides. Any reasonable person’s first response to any poll at this point would be a string of obscenities. I don’t know how I’ve managed not to rip the phone out of the wall yet. God knows what that does to the responses.
My pre-post-mortem is pretty conventional. After a reasonably good campaign in the primary, Coakley (and her handlers, who deserve a lot of blame here) assumed she’d coast in the general, and effectively shut down her campaign. That allowed Brown to get out his base—MA may be the Bluest of Blue states, but all states are really Purple, and we do have a big Republican base here, ready to have its blood angried up (see also this). When a couple of polls showed the race getting close, the Republicans smelled blood and the Democrats panicked. Panicked Democrats are even less competent than calm Democrats, and Coakley’s ads over the last week are starting to turn even me against her. She can’t seem to decide whether to campaign against Bush and Cheney or against Operation Rescue, and neither makes a particularly good target. Yeah, we all hate W and Dick, but we’ve all noticed that they’ve been out of office for a year now; and the abortion thing is based on obvious exaggeration to the point of, well, lies. So, feh.
UPDATE: Apparently turnout is heavy, which (i) is likely good for the Coakley, since she’s a Democrat in a Democratic state, and (ii) means the polls are probably crap, since they assumed the low turnout appropriate for an off-election in January. Say what you (and I) will about all those vile robocalls, at least every last person in the state knows there’s an election today.