The special election to fill Ted Kennedy's unexpired Senate term is just two weeks from today, and we now have our first public polling on the race since the parties chose their nominees. A new Rasmussen survey (500 LVs, 1/4, MoE +/- 4.5%) shows Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) leading state Sen. Scott Brown (R) by 9 points.
The election is in less than two weeks. If Brown pulls off an upset, I say that health care reform is through for the year. First, he'd represent a 41st Republican. The Democrats would no longer have the filibuster proof majority. They'd have to finish things up before he's sworn in in February.
The president wants a health care bill by the State of the Union. That's unlikely. If Republicans were to win in Massachusetts, that means anyone anywhere, if they're a Democrat, is vulnerable. That would be a screaming indication that the Dems' course is not liked by the public.
Frankly, even if Brown were to get within the ten points the latest poll says he's in, that is a massive sign in and of itself. Obama won with over 60% of the vote. Only California could be considered a bluer state. Martha Coakley, his opponent, isn't a spectacular candidate but there's nothing that makes her a bad candidate either. So, if a standard and traditional liberal candidate were to lose in Massachusetts, no one is safe.
This race bears watching and what a poll like this does is it gives Brown much needed publicity. That leads to fundraising and he should have a big push in the last ten days or so.
As an example, here's a recent interview Brown did with Real Clear Politics.