With just a week to go before Election Day, a new Suffolk University poll has found that Elizabeth Warren has opened up a 7 point lead over Scott Brown, 53%-46%.
The Suffolk University/7News poll found that support for Elizabeth Warren continues to grow as Election Day approaches. In September, Warren led Brown 48%-44%. But as Democrats have rallied behind her, Warren’s support has grown to 53%. Warren is now viewed as more popular than Brown. Her approval rating is 51%, and his disapproval rating is 36%. Her approval rating has risen to a net (+15). Warren’s strategy of targeting Brown’s conservative votes in the Senate seems to be paying off with voters, as the one popular senator has seen his favorable/unfavorable ratings split slip to a net (+3), 45%-42%.
Elizabeth Warren is now seen as the candidate who best represents the middle class (51%-36%), better represents the interests of Massachusetts (48%-38%), and as the candidate who has run the better campaign (43%-32%). One positive note for Brown is that his message of independence has resonated with voters. By a margin of 46%-41% respondents thought Brown would be the more independent senator, but Independent women in the state have moved toward Warren. Brown led with Independent women 49%-36% in September, but his lead has shrunk to 50%-47% today.
When respondents were asked whether they were voting for or against Warren or Brown, 50% said that they were voting for Warren, while 25% said their vote was a vote for Brown. By large margins both Warren (81%) and Brown (82%) supporters responded that they were voting for their candidate instead of against their opponent.
Scott Brown’s strategy of personal attacks against Warren appears to be failing as by a more than 2 to 1 margin (54%-25%) those polled believed that Warren is who she says she is. Respondents were split on whether Brown has damaged his reputation with this campaign. Forty one percent though that he had, and forty six percent thought that his negative campaign has not damaged his reputation.
The Karl Rove idea of defeating Elizabeth Warren with personal attacks has largely failed. Scott Brown has alternated his strategy between playing up his moderate positions, and embracing his conservatism. The one thing that has been consistent throughout the campaign has been his personal attacks on Warren’s character. The Brown campaign understood that Warren and her message would resonate well with the state’s voters, so they embarked on a strategy of discrediting the messenger.
It hasn’t worked.
The truth is that once Elizabeth Warren revealed herself to be formidable candidate, Scott Brown was in real trouble. In their three debates, Warren has constantly stressed that the state didn’t have to settle for a senator that would support the president some of the time. She told Massachusetts that they could have a senator that stuck with the popular Obama all of the time. Brown has not been able to figure out a way to negate Warren’s Obama advantage, but Warren has been able to chip away at Brown’s moderate message by emphasizing his votes against Obama and with his unpopular Republican congressional colleagues.
On Election Day, it may turn out that Scott Brown had too many things working against him. He is running against a popular and strong Democrat who is closely associated with a popular Democratic president in the state. On the flip side, Brown is saddled with an unpopular former governor at the top of the ticket, and a party brand that is so damaged that any association with it could be fatal for a Republican senator in a solidly blue state like Massachusetts.
There is still a week to go, but if this race holds to form, Elizabeth Warren will win and place Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat back into the Democratic column. Scott Brown isn’t a bad candidate , but the reality is that Elizabeth Warren may turn out be the better fit for Massachusetts.