Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today .

Today's question:

What are the chances that the GOP will win the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's (D-Mass.) Senate seat?


Peter Navarro, professor of Economics and Public Policy at UC-Irvine, said:

A low turnout, special election favors the Reps. Scott Brown is a better campaigner with a more trenchant message. The Dems are blowing it on just about every issue.  Hell yea, the guy can win. But even if it’s close, the Reps get a PR win. Wake up Dems! To squander all the political capital Bush gave you in less than two years would be quite an “achievement.”


Ron Walters, professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, said:

I don't think Scott Brown will take Edward Kennedy's seat because in the first place, the apparent ineptness of the campaign waged by Martha Coakley has been supplemented (and I think, corrected) by the recent arrival of a team of experienced campaign staff from the DCCC and others, giving her much need support. Then, there is the substantial advantage Democrats enjoy in the State, where one million more Democrats than Republicans were enrolled in the presidential election of 2008 and two years earlier, Deval Patrick won by more than 500,000 votes. So, if the Democratic machine is able to sufficiently overcome whatever angst there may be in their constituency about the economy, they should be able to affect a decent turnout. Lastly, the emotional symbolism of the fact that this is Ed Kennedy's seat will play not only on Democrats, but I suspect, some Republicans who acknowledge that he did, after all, fashion bipartisan coalitions in every way possible to achieve his historic legislative accomplishments.


Brad Delong, professor of Economics at UC-Berkley, said:

A Republican from Massachusetts is likely to find himself taking positions on issues that put him smack in the center of the Democratic caucus.


Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science at Emory University, said:

Yes, there is a chance. There's no doubt that this race is now surprisingly close. Still, my best guess (and it's just a guess) is that Coakley will eke out a fairly narrow (5-10 points) win. Massachusetts is one of the most Democratic states in the nation and Brown, while he's run a good campaign (or perhaps more accurately, Coakley has run a bad campaign), is not the kind of Republican that typically does well in New England. Although he's taken some pains to appear more moderate than he actually is, he is a pretty conservative Republican who is likely to vote in lock-step with the rest of the Republican minority in the Senate on healthcare, climate change, and just about everything else. If he does pull this off, I wouldn't expect him to last very long.
 
There are dueling polls in this race, some showing Coakley with a solid lead, others showing it very close or with Brown slightly ahead. I'm a little skeptical about the new Suffolk Poll showing Brown with a 50-46 lead among registered voters. They have Obama with a 48% approval rating, which is about the same as his national approval rating, and down from 60% in their previous poll in November. That just doesn't sound right to me. No doubt there will be several more polls released in the next 2-3 days so we'll get a better idea of where this race really stands right now, but I'm expecting to be up late on Tuesday.


Bernie Quigley, Pundits Blog contributor, said:

Coakley’s chances are thinning. What is important here however is the rising theme that appeared last fall in NY 23 and Virginia. Is taking hold in Massachusetts as well. When I grew up in Massachusetts – ‘50s, ‘60s - it was not blue, it was blood red. Some political theorists claim that political trends last 60 years. The Kennedy phenomenon has now about run its course since Jack Kennedy awakened Massachusetts 58 years ago.  The Jeffersonian age died when Jefferson died. The Kennedy era is likely now passed one way or another. Something new is going on in the country and in Massachusetts as well.  And to note, the Kennedy period and the purpose of that period was to fulfill the third purpose intended but not gained by Lincoln and Grant: egalitarianism between white and black. Technically is completed with Obama. Something new is happening.
 
 

Bill Press, host of the "Bill Press Show" and a contributor to The Hill's Pundits Blog, said:

The better question is: What female candidate could pose nude for a national magazine and then be considered a serious candidate for the U.S. Senate?


 
John F. McManus,
president of the John Birch Society, said:

As a resident of Massachusetts, I can tell you that an upset win by Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy is highly unlikely though intensely desired.  There is no mass media in the state that isn't pro-socialist, and therefore they are all pro-Coakley (the Democrat candidate) though some claim to be impartial.  There are over 60 institutions of higher "leaning"  (I mean left-leaning) in greater Boston and none produces constitutionalists or conservatives while all have a significant impact on the population.  The same situation exists in other locales throughout the state. The Massachusetts delegation to Congress is likely the lost left-leaning in the nation.
 
I am questioned frequently by Americans who wonder how I can live in the Bay State.  My answer is that I learned military tactics as an officer in the USMC and one that appealed to me is to work behind enemy lines.  I do that and have made some inroads, but there is much work left to do.


Richard S. Lindzen, atmospheric physicist and professor at MIT, said:

A week ago, I would have said marginal. Scott Brown was campaigning but Coakley was not. People were asking if she was simply taking her victory for granted. The real reason Coakley was not campaigning emerged last Monday, when the campaign's only debate was held. Coakley lost hands down to both Scott Brown and Kennedy (the Libertarian — not a member of The Family). Then began Coakley's negative ads with questionable assertions.  Next came her fundraising meeting with lobbyists in DC where one of her staffers pushed a reporter to the ground while Coakley looked on. Yesterday, in a radio interview, she announced that people with religious convictions against abortion should not work in emergency rooms. In brief, in the age of YouTube, Coakley is her own worst enemy.  Rather than exciting the huge Democratic base in Massachusetts, she is demoralizing many of them. The 30 odd percent of Republicans in Massachusetts are, on the other hand, energized. By Tuesday, I suspect that Scott Brown should emerge the winner by a slim margin. The talk now is turning to more serious issues like whether Brown's seating in the Senate can be delayed until after the health care vote. Barney Frank has angrily denied any such possibility, but it  has certainly been discussed by the State government.


Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said:

The surge to Scott Brown is undeniable. A month ago you couldn’t find much of anybody who thought Brown would even show well, much less win. But the new Suffolk University survey, giving Brown a narrow lead, has underlined just how much has changed. Maybe an Obama visit and wide-ranging panic-button pushing by Democrats can give Coakley just enough altitude to win on Tuesday, but the fact that a Republican could even come close in Massachusetts for Ted Kennedy’s seat is going to scare the bejesus out of Democrats everywhere.


Hal Lewis, professor of physics at UC-Santa Barbara, said:

Slim. Massachusetts Democrats have shown that they know how to win elections. Not as well as the Iranians, but well enough.


Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said:

Tough to see a Republican winning a senate seat in today’s Massachusetts.  There hasn’t been an R up in the Bay state since Edward W. Brookes III in 1979.  Yet, Republicans have won Governorships and Reagan carried the state in 1980 and 1984.

 
It is apparently possible for liberalism to lose a referendum on the idea that Americans wants politicians to run our hospitals and health care.

Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:

I see the polls are even, so it's 50/50. A Republican victory will be a major blow to the Democrats, and the Obama administration.