Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I've been skeptical, and ultimately it may turn out that I was right to be skeptical, but if Public Policy Polling is right, Elizabeth Warren really has a shot:

Elizabeth Warren has had an incredibly successful launch to her Senate campaign and actually leads Scott Brown now by a 46-44 margin, erasing what was a 15 point deficit the last time we polled the state in early June.

Warren's gone from 38% name recognition to 62% over the last three months and she's made a good first impression on pretty much everyone who's developed an opinion about her during that period of time. What was a 21/17 favorability rating in June is now 40/22- in other words she's increased the voters with a positive opinion of her by 19% while her negatives have risen only 5%.

The surprising movement toward Warren has a lot to do with her but it also has a lot to do with Scott Brown. We now find a slight plurality of voters in the state disapproving of him- 45%, compared to only 44% approving. We have seen a steady decline in Brown's numbers over the last 9 months....

Dave Weigel thinks the GOP shouldn't have reacted to the announcement of her candidacy by trying to portray her as an elitist. Perhaps -- though that doesn't seem like a sufficient explanation of her poll surge. Adam Sorensen of Time offers several reasons she might do well:

Warren will have many advantages in this race: an unpopular Congress, deep-pocketed national liberal donors lined up around the block, President Obama at the top of the ballot, and, most importantly, a heavily Democratic Massachusetts electorate.

I've got to go with #1 there -- Obama's popularity has been slipping lately. Massachusetts, though usually Democratic, elects a lot of Republican governors and is not always liberal. And I worry about an anti-fat-cat candidate trying to get rich people's donations.

But an unpopular Congress? Now you're talking. And so if this poll is accurate, maybe what it says to the Democratic Party is: stop running so many party hacks. If you want to win a seat, maybe you should be looking to any plausible candidate who isn't thoroughly rooted in the system.

Voters are sick of "the bums." They want to throw "the bums" out. I think what they mean is the same damn set of pols they see on every ballot. The Dems ran just such a career pol in NY-9 and got shellacked. Maybe this is the way to go? Run more people who don't reek of hackery?