Republican Scott Brown will defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in a political "shot heard 'round the world," a respected Boston pollster tells Newsmax.
The shift of Massachusetts voters away from Coakley has been so dramatic it could even lift Brown to a double-digit win today, said David Paleologos, director of the highly regarded Political Research Center at Suffolk.
"This should be the Democrats' last stand," Paleologos told Newsmax. "This should be 'the buck stops here' for somebody like Barack Obama."
As recently as November, Paleologos' polls showed Coakley ahead by a 30-percent margin.
The key turning point in the race came with Brown's retort after former Clinton administration adviser David Gergen referred to "the Kennedy seat" during last week's debate, Paleologos said.
Brown's response: "Well with all due respect, it's not the Kennedy seat and it's not the Democrats' seat. It's the people's seat."
Following that bombshell was a series of Coakley gaffes that made Brown appear a more credible candidate, Paleologos said. That's when voter sentiment really began to snowball.
Now, despite an appearance by President Obama and a wave of attack ads targeting Brown, the movement of voter opinion appears to be accelerating.
"It's been a massive change in the political dynamics of the landscape here in Massachusetts," Paleologos said.
The center that Paleologos runs has an impressive track record. His poll, for example, came closest to predicting Hillary Clinton's upset win in the New Hampshire primary over Barack Obama.
In recent days, the Political Research Center has conducted three "bellwether" polls, which survey voters in key areas of Massachusetts and compare the results to the traditional voting patterns. It's the same approach the center used in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.
Those polls show Brown leading by a 14- to 17-point margin. Paleologos is confident that his prediction "isn't just a guess based on anecdotal evidence."
His one caveat: He's not sure the size of Brown's victory margin. Heavy snowstorms have blanketed the northern third of Massachusetts, and that could hurt Brown's turnout enough to bring Brown's advantage down to single digits, he said.
Another poll released late Monday appears to support Paleologos' prediction. An InsiderAdvantage/Politico poll showed Brown surging to a 9 point lead over Coakley.
"I think that this candidate is in freefall," InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery told Politico. "Clearly this race is imploding on her."
The Massachusetts election is shaping up as a "disaster" for Democrats, Towery said.
There are growing indications the Obama administration is bracing for what would be a devastating political reversal in Massachusetts.
CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry reported Monday that the Obama administration has been advising Democratic leaders that it expects Coakley will lose.
Also, Democrats have been working furiously on a "Plan B" on how they will get Obamacare through Congress, if Democrats lose their 60th vote in the Senate and their supermajority.
The scale of the political fallout from a Brown upset is difficult to predict.
The Washington Post's The Fix blog reported that a GOP takeover of the seat would be "a contender for the title of biggest [political] upset of modern times."
If Brown wins, it also could be interpreted as sharp rejection of President Obama's policies, especially given his personal investment in Coakley's campaign.
The president has participated in a Web video and a robocall. He has issued a pitch for support via his campaign e-mail list. He made a campaign appearance and now is featured in a Coakley TV ad.
"It is Obama's highest level of involvement in a Democratic campaign since he was elected president," TheHill.com reported.
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