There has been a flurry of polling activity in the U.S. Senate race, with most showing a movement to Elizabeth Warren, but all showing a still tight race. My polling house preference is Suffolk, and David Paleologos. So as I mentioned in a debate posting below the all important independent voter will ultimately determine who wins this race. What does Paleologos find? Independents favor Scott Brown in this survey by a 55% to 34% margin. Simply put that margin is not enough for Brown, who must widen it to get to the type of margins he racked up over Martha Coakley within that subset.
Another factor, which many Democrats hoped Elizabeth Warren would accentuate during the debate, is the drop in crossover support for Scott Brown. Suffolk has found that Brown took a 5 point drop from Barack Obama voters, from 24% down to 19%. Elizabeth Warren moved to further separate Brown from these voters during the debate, highlighting the impacts of Brown’s support for the Republican leadership, and specifically highlighting the potential for Senator James Inhofe to become the chair of the environmental oversight committee in the U.S. Senate. Scott Brown will have an uphill fight, and you can expect more in the way of Elizabeth Warren linking Scott Brown to Mitt Romney and the Republican Party in future debates. She is hoping that the next Suffolk poll shows further erosion in “crossover” support for Scott Brown.
Any Democrats think that Scott Brown won last nights debate, or any Republicans think that Elizabeth Warren won the debate? Just curious about whether there are any folks looking at this from outside a totally partisan prism. My question does not include those party folks that have announced support for the “other team”. Don’t expect much response here, but it was worth asking. (I think).
Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown held the first in a series of debates last night and it didn’t take long for Scott Brown to come out swinging on the “character issue”, hitting Warren right off the bat on the so called “native American” subject. Brown’s initial thrust managed, in my opinion, to knock Warren off stride a bit, and more importantly utilized valuable time that could have been used to discuss issues, which of course came later.
Eventually Elizabeth Warren managed to get the discussion to where she wanted it to be, on those issues facing the Commonwealth and the Country. Issues raised included Warren focusing in like a laser on specific votes taken by Senator Brown, including voting against equal pay for equal work for women, the support of Senator Brown for tax breaks for oil companies, and his vote against Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court. Brown continually returned to the charge that Elizabeth Warren wanted to raise taxes, and he continually defended the votes he has taken in that context. I do believe that the closest comparison might be the tact that Bill Weld took against John Kerry in those debates for U.S. Senate. An exclusive focus on the tax issue, and other hot button Republican issues, did not work very well for Weld, and I do believe that the tax equity issue, rather than the generic issue of being against “tax increases”, is what is resonating with people in Massachusetts.
Did either Senator Brown or Elizabeth Warren manage to achieve their debate goals? Did either candidate “win”? In light of the obvious initial edge in Party registration for Democrats Scott Brown should have a clear goal. Win over independent voters. I think both sides appealed to the Party faithful, but what about independents? The Romney drag is starting to weigh down Republicans nationwide, especially in races like this. Independents appear to be turned off to the Republican message, and although Scott Brown is fleeing as quickly as he can from the Romney campaign it is a rocky road for him. Let us, in the next post, look at some of the Suffolk poll cross tabs that may answer the ever important question on independents.
Majority Leader Harry Reid has the Republican opponent he had hoped for in Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle in Nevada, but still trails her by 11 points in the latest Rasmussen survey. Reid is already up on the air, slamming Angle for her views on Social Security and Medicare. Angle has responded thus far only with an Internet ad, while attempting to raise money for the coming battle. Reid has had consistently poor ratings for the past couple of years, with Nevada’s conservative electorate leaning right on health care and immigration issues. Angle has taken some positions (like Social Security) that Reid will attempt to exploit, and appears to me to be a candidate with great similarity to Rand Paul. Reid has gotten what he wanted. Will he be able to avoid the fate of Tom Daschle?
Scott Brown mania persists, with the Senator-elect doing a bit on the Jay Leno show. The Senator seems to have as much energy as he did in the campaign, making the rounds in Massachusetts and nationally, and really hitting the right political notes. He has energy for sure, and appears to be looking at re-elect positioning already. He continues to take a strong independent stance, indicating to the Herald that he will not be a rubber stamp for the Republican leadership in the Senate. Lets face the facts. Scott Brown has had a great post-election political run.