It almost seems as if each new day brings a new poll in the Massachusetts race between Elizabeth Warren (D) and Scott Brown (R) for U.S. Senate, in what may be the most heavily polled and most expensive congressional contest in the country. A new WBUR poll released on Monday shows Warren ahead of Brown by two percentage points, 46% to 44%. This comes one day after The Boston Globe released its own survey showing Warren with a 43% to 38% lead over the incumbent. The two face off in their second debate tonight at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, which PolicyMic will be live-blogging from. The amount of attention being paid to this contest comes as no surprise, given that the Democrats have a serious chance to steal the seat back from Republicans, who claimed it when Brown upset Attorney General Martha Coakley in a 2010 special election held to replace the late Ted Kennedy.
This race has major national implications, as Republicans are not only trying to take the White House, but the senate as well, where Democrats hold a six-seat advantage over the GOP. Among likely Massachusetts voters, Brown and Warren both enjoy a 53% favorability rating. According to the Globe, when it comes to independents, Brown’s favorability is 67%, compared to Warren’s 43%. However, one serious disadvantage Brown has is the presence of Mitt Romney on this year’s ballot. The former Massachusetts governor will not only lose his home state, but he has an extremely low favorability rating of 33% among likely Massachusetts voters, while 60% view him unfavorably. That is in stark contrast to Barack Obama, who enjoys a favorability rating of 63%.
Brown may very well be done in by the preponderance of Obama voters in this year’s election, whose turnout is expected to be significantly higher than it was during the January 2010 special election. The Massachusetts Democratic Party has been engaging in a massive get-out-the-vote campaign in this heavily-Democratic state, and believe the more people vote, the better their chances are of retaking what Brown has described as “the people’s seat.” Polls have see-sawed back and forth between Brown and Warren in recent months, but only one of the eight polls taken since the beginning of September show Brown leading.
The campaign has become increasingly nasty, as Brown has been hammering away at Warren’s previous claims that she is part Cherokee Native American. Brown has, on several occasions, falsely claimed that Warren “checked the box” on job applications to indicate as such, implying she received an unfair advantage. The Cherokee matter has become the centerpiece of the Brown campaign, which is seeking to create an effective narrative that Warren does not have the character required for the upper chamber.
Warren’s campaign meanwhile, has sought to attack Brown’s voting record, especially his vote against extending the Bush-era tax cuts for 98% of Americans because the extensions did not include the top 2% of income earners.
Brown attack ad:
Warren response ad: