Published on
the Huffington Post

Coakley Pollster Defends Campaign Against White House


The blame game is fully underway. A top pollster to Democratic Senate
candidate Martha Coakley told HuffPost on Tuesday that the White House,
in attempting to blame the Coakley campaign for a potential defeat today
in Massachusetts, underestimates the wave of populist fury among
Massachusetts voters.

Pollster Celinda Lake said Coakley was hampered by the failure of the
White House and Congress to confront Wall Street. That failure, she
said, means that Democrats are being blamed by angry independent voters
worried about the state of the economy.

"If Scott Brown wins tonight he'll win because he became the
change-oriented candidate. Voters are still voting for the change they
voted for in 2008, but they want to see it. And right now they think
they've got economic policies for Washington that are delivering more
for banks than Main Street."

Asked about reported criticism from White House Chief of Staff Rahm
Emanuel, Lake said she had seen the stories. "I think it's a circling
squad to protect the White House. I don't think it's very useful," she
said, mixing a metaphor while getting across a clear message.


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Lake said that the problem for Democrats is that voters are blaming
them for the nation's poor economic conditions. "2010 is fast turning
out to be a blame election and I think that either we are going to
characterize who deserves the blame - whether that's banks and lobbyists
and people who still want to hold on to national Republican economic
strategies - or we're going to get the blame. And that's a very
different tone than, often, the administration is comfortable with," she

The feeling among voters, said Lake, is that Washington prioritizes
Wall Street over Main Street and that, despite Coakley's credentials as a
state attorney general who has taken on and beaten Wall Street banks,
sending her to Washington would not make a difference. "On the eve of
the election, Martha Coakley had a 21-point advantage over Scott Brown
on who would fight Wall Street and deliver for Main Street. But it
didn't predict to the vote, because voters thought, even if they sent
her down here that it wouldn't happen. 'Fine, she had done it in
Massachusetts, but no one was doing it in Washington,'" Lake said.
"Voters are voting for change and we have to go back to that change
message. And we have to deliver on change, especially an economic policy
that serves working people."

Lake pointed to polling released by the Economic Policy Institute
showing that 65 percent of Americans though the stimulus served banks
interests, 56 percent thought it served corporations and only ten
percent that it benefited them. "That is a formula for failure for the
Democrats. We have to deliver on economic policies that take on Wall
Street and we have to do it for five months, not just five days. We
really have to deliver on the policies," she said.

The tit-for-tat over tactics, said Lake, risks missing the wave that
is headed toward Democrats. "There's a lot of blame to go around, but
the point of the matter is there's a wave. And that wave: it hit
Virginia; it hit New Jersey; it hit Massachusetts," she said.

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