Interesting. When everyone knows turnout is important, how do polls affect what people do? Why do people lose "intensity" when they think their candidate is likely to lose? Do people lapse into the passive observation of what seems to be destiny — and forget that they are voters? Or is there something particular about the Coakley/Brown race, in that people assumed Coakley should easily win and never thought too much about her, never bonded with her or worked for her? Now that Scott Brown is surging, they are inert and fatalistic?
But what this unnamed strategist is really talking about is how we should interpret a Coakley loss:
"With Obama at 60 percent in Massachusetts, this shouldn't be happening, but it is," the Democrat says.
Given those numbers, some Democrats, eager to distance Obama from any electoral failure, are beginning to compare Coakley to Creigh Deeds, the losing Democratic candidate in the Virginia governor's race last year. Deeds ran such a lackluster campaign, Democrats say, that his defeat could be solely attributed to his own shortcomings, and should not be seen as a referendum on President Obama's policies or those of the national Democratic party.And Obama has decided not to travel to Massachusetts to help Coakley out. It's all about cutting her loose to sink on her own. Strange to give up and look ahead beyond the predicted loss when her vote is so crucial.
The same sort of thinking is emerging in Massachusetts. "This is a Creigh Deeds situation," the Democrat says. "I don't think it says that the Obama agenda is a problem. I think it says, 1) that she's a terrible candidate, 2) that she ran a terrible campaign, 3) that the climate is difficult but she should have been able to overcome it, and 4) that Democrats beware -- you better run good campaigns, or you're going to lose."
UPDATE: Obama will go to Massachusetts.