Real Clear Politics has done an elaborate statistical analysis of Demographic changes in the United States comparing the 2008 Presidential election to the 2009 Governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey.
1) Turnout: RCP measured the change in turnout percentages. According to exit polls, Republican turnout was up 10-12% and Democrat turnout was down 7-16% in VA and NJ.
I used the CNN exit polls for 2008 – the electorate was 43% Democratic, 17% Republican and 40% Independent. I took the average of the electorate shifts in New Jersey and Virginia, and applied them to the 2008 Presidential election in Massachusetts. If Massachusetts experienced similar shifts, it would have an electorate that’s 38% Democratic, 19% Republican, and 42% Independent. This isn’t farfetched, as the 2004 electorate was 39% Democratic, 16% Republican, and 44% Independent.
2) Voting: RCP measured voter preference by party. The Democrat candidates share of the vote among their fellow Democrats, Republicans, and especially Independents was way down across the board. Among Independents the Democrat share dropped a whopping 66%.
The bigger shift comes in the voting patterns of these groups. In 2008, Obama won 88% of Massachusetts Democrats, 9% of Republicans, and 57% of Independents. If we apply the same methodology here (average of the % swing we saw in New Jersey and Virginia), we come out with an electorate where Coakley wins 90% of Democrats, 4% of Republicans, and 38% of Independents. Again, this isn’t terribly off of 2004 for Republicans and Democrats; with swaggering Texan Bush at the top of the ticket, Kerry won 94% of Democrats and 7% of Republicans. The big difference comes among Independents, as Kerry won this group with 54% in 2004.
3) Application: Real Clear Politics applied the same Demographic changes observed in these two races to the 2008 Presidential results here in Massachusetts and came out with a Coakley margin of victory of just over 2%.
In any event, if we take a 38%D, 19%R, 42%I electorate and have Coakley win 90% of the Democrats, 4% of Republicans and 38% of Independents, we come out with an exceedingly close 51.06-48.9% Coakley win. I did not expect that.
MORE BELOW THE FOLD….
I found this to be an very impressive analysis by Sean Trende. It is hard to say if it will hold here in Massachusetts. As he mentioned, these were Governor’s races. State races often track differently than national ones.
It is also a special election which changes the dynamics dramatically. I did an analysis of the Scott Brown race turnout numbers and compared them to the Ogonowski special election in 2007 here. It also showed this special election well within reach.