Kennedy Endorsement Comes at Key Time for Martha Coakley
Samuelson, Tracey D, The Christian Science Monitor
Vicki Kennedy and other family members offered their endorsement to Martha Coakley in the race for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. Earlier this week, a poll of likely voters found that the race is closer than expected.
There was a brass band and a feeling of old-time politics as members
of the Kennedy clan gathered Thursday to endorse Massachusetts
Attorney General Martha Coakley in the special election to fill
Edward Kennedy's Senate seat.
The crowd mingled to "America the Beautiful" and "Let Freedom
Ring" before the late senator's family - including his wife,
Vicki - took the stage with Ms. Coakley.
She might need the help of that key endorsement. A Jan. 4 Rasmussen
poll of likely voters found Coakley leading her Republican
challenger, state Sen. Scott Brown, by a smaller margin than expected
- nine percentage points.
In the poll, 50 percent favored Coakley and 41 percent chose Senator
Brown. The general election is Jan. 19.
Coakley was strongly favored coming out of the Dec. 8 primary due to
the heavily Democratic nature of Massachusetts: Blue voters outnumber
their red counterparts 3 to 1 in the state.
But the Rasmussen poll - the only recent poll available - should
be interpreted carefully, says Jeffrey Berry, a political scientist
at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
Rasmussen's methodology, he says, includes very tight screening of
respondents and can result in a Republican bias.
But that doesn't mean the poll should be disregarded completely.
"What it says is that Coakley has to get her vote out,"
Professor Berry says. "That's the bottom line for this poll."
While Massachusetts is a heavily Democratic state, the number of
independent voters is greater than the sum of Democrats and