Placing Blame For Coakley’s Loss

When something which would have been unthinkable a month ago and Massachusetts elects a Republican to to Ted Kennedy’s old seat there are bound to be multiple reasons. Nate Silver tried to break it down, explaining the 31 point swing between Obama’s 26 point victory last year and Coakley’s five point loss. Silver crunched the numbers to attribute the 31 point swing to national environment 13, Coakley 14,  and special circumstances 4. It took a combination of both national factors and the problems with Coakley’s campaign for her to lose:

If you follow through on the math, this would suggest that Coakley would have won by about 8 points, rather than losing by 5, had the national environment not deteriorated so significantly for Democrats. It suggests that the Democrats would have won by 9 points, rather than losing by 5, had the candidate been someone other than Coakley. And it suggests that the race would have been a 1-point loss (that is, basically too close to call), rather than a 5-point loss, even if Coakley had run such a bad campaign and even if the national environment had deteriorated as much as it has, but had there not been the unusual circumstances associated with this particular election.

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