Though Massachusetts is typically a blue state, consistently low voter turnouts for special elections and an enthusiastic conservative minority has brought the margin between the candidates closer than usual.
Rasmussen Reports President Scott Rasmussen said though these factors may boost Brown’s ratings, they will probably not give him a decisive winning edge in the Jan. 19 special election.
“There’s no doubt in my mind if it was a regular election, [Coakley’s] lead would be bigger because more people would turn out,” he said. “Conservatives are more likely to show up for this election. In some states that would be enough to get a Republican win, but in Massachusetts it’s still a big hill to climb.”
Rasmussen said voter turnout is the key to the race. Higher turnouts will favor Coakley, who is the state attorney general, due to Massachusetts’ democratic majority, whereas lower turnouts will favor Brown.
In the Dec. 8 primary, less than 15 percent of eligible voters cast ballots to advance Coakley and Brown.
“Historically special elections are always low turnout affairs,” he said. “The two campaigns are going to do everything they can to boost totals, and the bigger the turnout, the better it is for Coakley.”
The poll also indicated that the issue that voters are most concerned about in the race is health care.
“We found a strong correlation between views on healthcare and how respondents are going to vote,” Rasmussen said. “That’s not surprising. While the economy is the top issue nationally, health care debate seems to be the one issue in the political world today that is driving perceptions.”