January 20, 2010
From this New York Times blog, an interview with the pollster for Martha Coakley.
Q. Was there really no money for tracking polls?
A. “We were short of money at the end of December and early January. We would have been up on the air and we would have been tracking if we had more money.”
Q. But the Democrats control the levers of government in Washington. Why wasn’t more money available? She had more money than her opponent at the end of last year, right?
A.: “She ended the year with $600,000 cash on hand, but they needed the money for ads. We still weren’t going up on the air with ads then. It costs a million here to have even a decent buy. This is a very expensive media state.”
Q. So who is to blame for Ms. Coakley’s defeat?
A. “I don’t just blame the national situation. I think Martha and the campaign should have been raising more money, too. Everybody deserves some blame here.”
“The much bigger issue is recognizing the mood of the voters and really understanding what we should do in the next five months, so that we don’t face a tsunami in November 2010.”
Q. People assume Democrats should win in Massachusetts. Are they wrong?
A. “The National Democratic Senatorial Committee never understood how hard it is in Massachusetts. They thought it was just the bluest of blue states. It’s Ted Kennedy’s seat. They didn’t understand how hard it is to elect a woman here, they didn’t understand how ornery the independents are. They didn’t understand that it isn’t that blue. You’ve got previous Republican governors, not just one anomaly – Jane Swift, Romney, Weld.”
Q. So what has been learned from this race?
A. “There are a lot of people in Washington underestimating what the mood is like out in the real world and how angry people are, how tough this economy is, how much people think that the Democrats have not delivered the change they promised and how much people want that change and we better deliver on it.”
Q. Did the visit on Sunday by President Obama help?
A. “At that point we needed to get out the base and he delivered a fantastic message. But we need that Wall Street message for the next five months.”