According to the latest PPP poll, Massachusetts voters who supported President Obama in 2008 have powered Elizabeth Warren to a nine point lead over Scott Brown, 53%-44%.
The PPP poll found that Scott Brown’s approval rating continues to fall, while Elizabeth Warren’s keeps growing. Scott Brown’s approval/disapproval split is now a virtually even 46% to 45%. Just eleven days ago, Sen. Brown’s approval rating was 55%. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren’s approval/disapproval split continues to grow. Warren’s approval rating has risen to 52%, and her disapproval rating is 43%. Warren has the support of 77% of those who voted for Obama in 2008, and 10% support from McCain voters. Sen. Brown does have the support of 89% of McCain voters, and 19% of Obama voters, but unfortunately for Brown, McCain lost Massachusetts by 26 points in 2008.
Warren leads Brown 81%-14% among Democrats, and Brown leads Warren 88%-11% with Republicans. Sen. Brown continues to lead Warren with Independents, 56%-41%. Scott Brown’s disapproval rating with Democrats has jumped 11 points in 11 days. Brown has gone from a 56% disapproval rating with Democrats to a 67% disapproval rating.
Elizabeth Warren’s results are starting to mirror President Obama’s polling in the state. Obama leads Romney with whites 55%-42%. Warren leads Brown with whites, 51%-47%. Obama leads Romney 67%-29% with minorities. Warren leads Brown 63%-29% with minorities. Obama leads Romney 60%-36% with women, and Warren leads Brown 55%-40%. Warren is only trailing Obama’s performance with certain demographics by 4-5 points.
In earlier polling Brown had been able to peel off enough Obama supporters to stay close to Warren, but it appears that Obama voters are starting to consolidate around Warren. Elizabeth Warren has also done an excellent job in the three debates between the two candidates aligning herself with, and separating Scott Brown from, the president.
Scott Brown’s path to victory is dependent on his ability to pull Obama voters away from Warren. Brown needs a sizable number of Democrats to join with his support among Independents and Republicans in order to put him over the top. Brown’s original strategy reflected this need as he portrayed himself as a moderate, and played up his voters in support of the president in the first debate. After that didn’t move the polls enough, Brown again played the moderate while amping up the personal attacks on Warren. (Brown also made the critical blunder of calling Scalia his favorite Supreme Court Justice.) By the third debate, a more desperate Brown saw momentum for Romney so he decided to move to the right, and continue the personal attacks on Warren. That strategy has left him even further behind in the polls.
Brown’s strategy of personal attacks on Warren has backfired, especially with women. Brown has seen his approval rating with women slide to a new low of 43%.
Scott Brown has not been able to solve the riddle of Elizabeth Warren. His campaign has the difficult to impossible task of trying to beat a popular Democratic candidate who is closely allied with a popular Democratic president in a heavily Democratic state where the Republican presidential nominee is especially unpopular.
Obama voters are going to make or break Elizabeth Warren in this election.
If they continue to rally around her in growing numbers, she will win. If Scott Brown figures out a way to peel off enough Democrats to make this an even race, he could win. In the third debate Warren made the strategic move of repeatedly voicing her support for president’s policies, while pointing out areas of disagreement between Brown and Obama. This strategy, along with Brown’s move to the right, could help explain her growing lead.
As long as Obama voters come out in big numbers and also support Elizabeth Warren, it is difficult to see how Scott Brown can overcome the strong Democratic headwinds in Massachusetts that are likely to carry Warren to victory.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association