There is no question that the election of Scott Brown sent shock waves through the political establishment as we predicted that it would. While that was true for the nation as a whole, it was even more true for Massachusetts itself. After all, Massachusetts has 10 congresspeople and they are all Democrats and they all voted for the Pelosi health care bill. Since Scott Brown ran as being opposed to the various Democrat health care bills and won, what does that say about what will happen to those 10 Democrats in November? They all are not even listed as being in play by Rothenberg and both Cook and CQ Politics list only MA-10 as being in play and even then list it as likely Democrat. Would you want to be the ranch on this because we sure wouldn't?
Of course, none of these some analysts saw any chance of Scott Brown winning either before the first poll was taken either. We saw the possibilities on December 27th and the first poll was taken on January 5th. Only one analyst, Michael Barone, has said that the Democrats are in terrible shape and that "the numbers tell me that Democrats would fare worse than they have in every election since 1946." We should mention that the Republicans picked up 55 house seats in 1946. Once again we have to say that we that we think that those other analysts are wrong and that we agree with Michael Barone. That means that some of the congressional seats in Massachusetts are in play besides MA-10 and are much more vulnerable than just likely Democrat. To prove our point, let's see how well Scott Brown did in each congressional district.
|DISTRICT||INCUMBENT||RECENT %||MCCAIN %||BROWN %||INCREASE|
|MA - District 01||John W. Olver||64.99% (2002)||33.54%||48.4%||+14.9%|
|MA - District 02||Richard E. Neal||58.55% (1994)||38.88%||56.9%||+18.0%|
|MA - District 03||James P. McGovern||56.90% (1998)||39.39%||57.6%||+18.2%|
|MA - District 04||Barney Frank||67.95% (2008)||34.67%||50.1%||+15.4%|
|MA - District 05||Niki Tsongas||51.36% (2007)||39.41%||56.2%||+16.8%|
|MA - District 06||John F. Tierney||54.55% (1998)||40.71%||57.4%||+16.7%|
|MA - District 07||Edward J. Markey||64.43% (1994)||33.34%||45.8%||+12.5%|
|MA - District 08||Mike Capuano||81.72% (1998)||13.74%||35.8%||+22.1%|
|MA - District 09||Stephen F. Lynch||64.97% (2001)||38.50%||56.9%||+18.4%|
|MA - District 10||William D. "Bill" Delahunt||54.32% (1996)||43.60% ||59.3%||+15.7%|
It does not take a rocket scientist to see that we can agree that districts 1, 7 and 8 can retain their safe Democrat rating because Scott Brown lost those districts. He did carry Barney Frank's district by a whisker but barring a poll showing otherwise we can keep that one safe Democrat. We can also eliminate districts 1 and 9 because the incumbent had a wide margin in his worst recent year. But that still leaves 5 districts in play. Obviously Rep. Tsongas is in a world of hurt because of her narrow margin and Scott Brown getting 56.2% of the votes in her district and must be rated leaning Republican. Only Rep. Neal has a big enough margin to remain likely Democrat. The other races must be rated as toss-ups with a slight benefit to the Republicans.
What makes us so sure of our ratings? It just so happens a poll was taken in MA-10 on January 30th and 31st by McLaughlin & Associates showing Rep. Delahunt behind Joseph Malone, one of the Republican candidates, 34 to 31%. This poll was taken before the Amy Bishop scandal broke so one can just imagine what it would be now. It seems that Rep. Delahunt was a district attorney back when she shot her brother and arranged to get her released and somehow the case files got "lost". This was before she murdered the three professors in Alabama. I think a new poll would make this a likely Republican after that mess but it will take a new poll before we can move it out of the toss-up group.
The bottom line is that other analysts just have not made enough adjustments to their projections to account for the election of Scott Brown in the bluest state in the country. He carries 7 of the 10 congressional districts and we are only going to put one of them in play and even then rate it as likely Democrat? We just do not see this as realistic. We should add that we have added IL-17 to the toss-up group. We missed this one because Rep. Hare was unopposed in 2008. However, he only got 57.17% of the vote in 2006 and that is just not good enough in a year like this one is shaping up to be for the Republicans so this race is rated a toss-up. We now project that the Republicans will pick up 64 Democrat seats while losing 2 for a net gain of 62. This would give them control of the house by a 242 to 193 margin.