….at least if you believe virtually every legitimate poll analyst:
While special elections often come down to turnout – and they therefore are more difficult to predict than normal elections – the combination of public and private survey research and anecdotal information now strongly suggests that Republican Scott Brown will defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in tomorrow’s race to fill the remainder of the late-Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat.
Brown is running extremely well with Independents in the Bay State, and unless Democratic turnout exceeds everyone’s expectations, Brown is headed for a comfortable win. Move from Toss-Up to Lean Takeover.
Given the vagaries of voter turnout, particularly in lower participation level special elections, this race could still go either way, but we put a finger on the scale for Brown. Last-minute Democratic attacks on Brown have driven his negatives up some and slightly diminished the incredible intensity of support that Brown enjoyed, but it looks more likely than not to hold.
And the coup de gras, Mark Blumenthal from Pollster.com:
So what might you believe about these data? You could refuse to cherry pick the polls. That has long been our view here at Pollster.com. Our job is to summarize the trends as best we can, without partisan favor. If you do that, we get a 8.8 point Brown lead.
Perhaps you only trust non-partisan polls. Then the Brown lead is 6.8 points.
Maybe you are a Dem, who doesn’t trust the Republican pollsters. Then Brown leads by 6.5 points.
Or you are a Dem who doesn’t trust the non-partisan pollsters either and who does believe in the leaks from the Coakley campaign. Then Brown’s lead is 3.8 points. (This is the only estimate that includes the leaks.)
Or you are a Rep who trusts GOP and nonpartisan polls only. Then Brown leads by 11.3. (There aren’t enough Rep polls to run a Rep only estimate to parallel the Dem only, but I’d think an 11 point lead would be satisfying enough for Reps.)
There may be other ways to cut these data (IVR vs conventional phone, pollsters you’ve heard of vs ones you haven’t) but it seems quite unlikely that any but the most selective reading of these data can find that the race remains a dead heat. Brown has a lead, as of Sunday night.
And nothing significant changed on Monday.
I’ll be tweeting all evening about election results as they come in, so make sure you are following!