According to a new Suffolk University poll released Monday evening Elizabeth Warren has taken the lead in her bid against the incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown. The poll shows Warren sitting at a respectable 48% compared to Brown at 44%. Although this poll is more encouraging for Warren than Suffolk’s May poll, which had Warren down 1%, it does not prove any definitive change in the electorate. The poll’s margin for error was +/- 4% making her current lead in this poll anything but conclusive.
The rise in Warren’s popularity is likely due to a post-Democratic National Convention bump in which her speech was generally well received. David Paleologos, a pollster at Suffolk University added, “The Democratic National Convention appears to have connected the dots for some voters in Massachusetts. They’ve linked Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and congressional candidate Joseph Kennedy … and Warren has benefited not only from her own speech, but from the oratory of others, both inside and outside of Massachusetts.”
Unlike Warren, Brown has made little effort to closely associate himself with his party, its platform, or its convention. The distance that Brown is setting between his campaign and the party is most likely an attempt to come across as a non-partisan independent candidate. It’s difficult to say how this tactic will fair on election day although, according to current polling, it may not be the most effective.
An issue that may prove problematic for Scott Brown and his re-election could be the popularity of several ballot questions. There is currently 64% support in favor of the proposed Prescribing Medication to End Life law, which would allow licensed physicians to prescribe life-ending medication at the request of terminally ill patients that meet certain conditions. Another ballot question that often brings out a younger more liberal vote, especially in Massachusetts, is the Medical Use of Marijuana law which has 59% in favor compared to the 35% opposed. There is not a definitive correlation between these kinds of ballot questions and the subsequent election of Democratic candidates, although it is likely that the Brown campaign has considered their effects.
Elizabeth Warren is leading in three of the most recent polls and has gained on average approximately 7 percentage points on Scott Brown in recent months. Obama has nearly a 60% favorability rate to Romney in Massachusetts and his polling numbers have been on the rise since late June. Voters tend to vote the party line and if Obama continues to gain support on a national level in conjunction with Warren’s rise in favorability then it is nearly certain Brown will lose his senate seat. At this pace, either Warren will have to prove disastrous in the upcoming debates or Brown will have to engage in some aggressive campaigning in order to successfully lock up a decisive win.