Elizabeth Warren Takes Slim Lead Over Scott Brown In Massachusetts Senate Race
The first televised debate between Republican Senator Scott Brown and challenger Democrat Elizabeth Warren is over – and Warren has now taken a slim lead, suggesting that Democrats who had supported the late Teddy Kennedy are (for) now coming home:
With Elizabeth Warren and Senator Scott Brown preparing for their second debate Monday night, Warren appears to be inching ahead in the highly competitive race for Senate, as Massachusetts Democrats energized by the presidential race begin to fall in line behind her, according to a new Globe poll.
Warren, a Democrat, leads Brown, a Republican, 43 percent to 38 percent, a shift from the Globe’s last poll in May, when Brown held a 2-point lead. But the race remains within either candidate’s grasp, with 18 percent of voters still undecided, said Andrew E. Smith, the Globe’s pollster and the director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.
This survey is the sixth of eight public polls taken this month that show Warren ahead.
Warren’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent, meaning a spread of as much as 8 percentage points between the candidates would still statistically count as a dead heat. Still, the survey is sobering for Brown six weeks before the election.
This raises the stakes in their second debate. And Brown’s task in preventing defections from the coalition that elected him seems increasingly more challenging:
“It’s trending away from Brown,’’ said Smith. “Brown right now is not doing well enough among Democrats to offset the advantage that Warren has,” said Smith. “That’s just such a big obstacle to overcome for any Republican candidate” in Massachusetts.
Brown’s hurdle is that even as voters from both parties say they like him personally, regard him as bipartisan, and give him high marks on his job performance, many also say they plan to stick with their political party. And in a presidential year, with high turnout expected, that bodes especially well for Democrats on the ballot in Massachusetts. The party holds a 3-to-1 registration advantage over Republicans in the state.
The one certainty: Brown can’t count on Mitt Romney’s coattails in Massachusetts to help him:
In the presidential contest, the poll shows President Obama leading former governor Mitt Romney by 27 percentage points in Massachusetts, a 57 percent to 30 percent landslide. If that holds up, Brown will face a strong Democratic headwind that could overwhelm his individual efforts as a candidate in the Nov. 6 election.
So Brown will have to pivot away from the issue of Warren not being a Native American an issue which might help him a bit and be fun for conservative bloggers and be a good rant for conservative talk show personalities but at this stage of the campaign will turn off some needed Democratic and independent voters. He has to sound not like someone who truly can reach across the aisle. And Warren has to keep hammering home her message that the underlying issue is on which side will Masschasetts’ Senator vote – on the side of Obama or on the side of those who want to check mate him?
And it’s high stakes because control of the Senate could indeed be up for grabs — high stakes for Republican voters who want him to oppose Obama, and for Democrats who want a Senator who’ll be part of Obama’s Senate support team.