EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 15, 2010

Obama to campaign for Coakley in Mass.

BOSTON (AP) — His health care bill at stake, President Barack Obama plans a trip to Massachusetts to campaign for endangered Senate Democratic candidate Martha Coakley amid release of a poll showing an edge for the Republican Party in the race to fill a Senate seat Democrats have held for over a half-century.

Democratic officials disclosed the president’s plans Friday on condition of anonimity because they were not authorized to pre-empt a White House announcement.

“If Scott Brown wins, it’ll kill the health bill,” Democrat Barney Frank, D-Mass., said, underscoring the stakes of Tuesday’s special election.

A Suffolk University survey released late Thursday showed that Brown, a Republican state senator, with 50 percent of the vote in the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in this overwhelmingly Democratic state.

Coakley had 46 percent. That amounted to a statistical tie since it was within the poll’s 4.4 percentage point margin of error, but it was far different from a 15-point lead that Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, enjoyed in a Boston Globe survey released over the weekend.

The Suffolk poll also confirmed a fundamental shift in voter attitudes telegraphed in recent automated polls that Democrats had dismissed as unscientific and the product of GOP-leaning organizations.

And it signaled a possible death knell for the 60-vote Senate supermajority the president has been relying upon to stop Republican filibusters and pass not only his health care overhaul, but the rest of his legislative agenda heading into crucial mid-term elections this fall.

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