Still No Movement For Gabriel Gomez

Last week's polls did not indicate a Scott Brown-esque surge.

One week ago I wrote this about the possibility of Gabriel Gomez surging to victory a la Scott Brown 2010:

…if the idea is that Gomez is following a Brown-like trajectory, this is the week he needs to prove it. If he isn’t showing up even or ahead in some polls by then… he’ll have to pull off a much bigger come-from-behind than Brown did.

The polls last week were not kind to Gomez. Even if my heavy skepticism of the UNH polling center causes you to discount the Boston Globe‘s brutal poll that appeared Sunday, none of the publicly released polls have shown Gomez closer to Ed Markey than the 7-to-12-point deficit range that we’ve seen all along. (I’m also hearing of double-digit Markey leads in unreleased polling from the candidates and their partisan national allies—which were probably the basis for the Cook Report moving the race back to “Lean Democrat” from “Tossup.”)

This shouldn’t be very surprising to anyone. Just a few months ago, Massachusetts voters gave careful thought and decided that sending a Democrat to the US Senate outweighed any benefits of a moderate, independent type—even when that moderate Republican was an incumbent who (according to polls) they liked and they thought was doing a good job as Senator. It was unlikely they would rethink that calculation so soon after, especially given a totally unknown and unproven candidate filling the Scott Brown role, an unassailable “generic Democrat,” and a short, oddly timed campaign.

Sure, the low turnout of the special election might bring Gomez a few points closer than Brown came to Elizabeth Warren in 2012, but that was bound to be more than offset by his not being Scott Brown.

I strongly suspect that the widespread sense of boredom and disinterest surrounding this special election has relatively little to do with “election fatigue,” and is only partly the result of two uninspiring candidates.

I think it mostly comes from voters knowing what they are going to do—vote for the Democrat, or vote for the moderate Republican—because they just went through that exact same decision-making process last year. They’ve already answered this test question, so they don’t need to study for it again.