Two of the main reasons we've heard over and over about why Republicans did so well in New Jersey and Virginia in November and why they continue to poll so well for 2010 races are that they're more motivated to get out to the polls than Democrats and that independents are leaning their way. Those things are definitely true and we're seeing them in Massachusetts too. One emerging problem for Dems getting less attention is that there's a decent amount of opposition to the health care bill within the party ranks and that's driving some of those voters over to the Republican side.
We stopped asking about health care in our NJ and Va. polling about a month before the election but in late September we found that Bob McDonnell had a 61-33 lead over Creigh Deeds with Democrats who opposed the health care plan and that Chris Christie was up 38-31 on Jon Corzine with those folks as well.
In Massachusetts it's a similar story with Scott Brown up 61-24 with those folks, which based on our current projection of likely voters accounts for 20% of Massachusetts Democrats. One of the keys to Democratic success in 2008, for all the bluster about the PUMA crowd, was a high level of party unity. Barack Obama held onto 89% of his party's voters. If health care creates bigger divisions within the party ranks than that this year it's just going to be one more strike against Democratic candidates in close races.
5 days to go...