As the election results start pouring in, the Massachusetts Senate race between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren has taken an interesting turn.
The latest New England based polls show a fluctuation in results. Last week, the Boston Globe released a poll with the candidates tied at 47% of voters. However, on Monday morning UMASS-Lowell/Boston Herald released the latest numbers indicating that Brown has a one point lead over his Democratic opponent Warren. There are an additional three new polls that have Warren in the lead by a range of 4-7 points. The newest polling data contributes to the unpredictability of the race.
In examining the UMASS poll, Scott Brown’s lead may be viewed as minuscule. However, it is a lead nonetheless. From a historical standpoint, a late movement in the polls can often times be very significant, as in the 1980 presidential election between Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan.
Like Brown and Warren, Carter and Reagan remained close in the polls throughout the primary season. Gallup released their final poll prior to Election Day of that year with Reagan having a three point lead. However, the final week of the 1980 election season would forever change the conversation regarding election predictability. Ronald Reagan won the presidency by a landslide, securing 91% of the Electoral College (489 votes to Carter’s 49), and had nearly a 10-point lead in the popular vote.
The results of the 1980 election were certainly extraordinary. Reagan’s victory should serve as a valid example of how polling can be unpredictable. The most recent UMASS poll shows a slight movement towards Brown, and this movement can potentially continue today in the polls, though Warren’s lead in the three other Massachusetts polls speaks otherwise.
While the latest polling data is flip flopping between incumbent Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts citizens have made their decisions in the race. For being one of the most historically liberal states in the nation, voters may continue the tradition and elect liberal candidate Elizabeth Warren. However, Republican Scott Brown may be able to secure the undecided Massachusetts voter.
This senate race has been one of the most closely monitored elections in the country in addition to the presidential race. Brown’s one point lead may indicate that the psyche of Massachusetts’ voters is changing in his favor. Warren’s multiple leads may also determine her gain of the senate seat. So which candidate should already start preparing their victory speech?
As far as the poll numbers are concerned and learning from the 1980 presidential election, either candidate may be today's victor.