Elizabeth Warren has surged into the lead over incumbent Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race, according to three new polls.
Two surveys released on Sunday show Warren holding narrow leads over Brown. The first, from Public Policy Polling, shows Warren leading Brown by a 48 to 46 percent margin. This represents a seven point swing from PPP’s previous poll, which had Brown leading 49 to 44 percent on August 21.
The second, conducted by Western New England University’s Polling Institute (WNEU) and the website MassLive.com, shows Warren holding a 50 to 44 percent lead over Brown.
Warren has surged by improving her numbers among Democratic voters. The WNEU polls shows Warren leading among Democratic voters by an 89 to 6 percent margin. In the PPP poll, Warren’s lead within her own party has improved from 73 to 20 percent in the August poll to 81 to 13 percent today.
One likely reason for this shift is that according to PPP, 53 percent of Massachusetts voters want the Democrats to control the Senate, compared to only 36 percent who want a Republican majority leader. As Public Policy Polling’s Director Tom Jensen wrote in a press release, “More and more Democrats who may like Brown are shifting to Warren because they don’t like the prospect of a GOP-controlled Senate.”
On late Monday night, a third poll found Warren pulling ahead of Brown. The survey, by Suffolk University/WHDH-TV, shows Warren leading Brown by a 48 to 44 percent margin — that’s within the poll’s margin of error, but a reversal of the last Suffolk University/WHDH survey (which had Brown leading Warren 48 to 44 percent in May.)
Warren’s much-praised speech at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte appears to be a key factor in her surge in the polls.
As pollster David Paleologos said in a statement, “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, whose district includes southeastern Massachusetts.”
Taken together, these polls raise a serious red flag for Brown. Although he maintains solid job approval ratings, the Republican fails to crack 46 percent in any of the polls — usually a very bad sign for incumbents.
The polls are also bad news for the Republican Party. If Brown is unable to hold onto his Senate seat, then the GOP will face an even steeper uphill battle to claim a majority in the Senate.
Like Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Brown will soon get a chance to reverse his slide in the polls through debates. He and Warren will face off in the first of four planned debates on Thursday.
Copyright 2012 The National Memo