Last week’s Suffolk poll showing the race between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown to be a dead heat, and that the vast majority of voters don’t care about the kerfuffle over Warren’s heritage, was no fluke (nor, for that matter, was the Rasmussen poll that came out about 10 days after the whole business began). Two new polls announced today, one from the Globe and one from the Springfield Republican, show the same thing: the race is incredibly close and seems likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
The results, in brief:
Globe poll (University of New Hampshire Survey Center): Brown 39, Warren 37, undecided 23, someone else 2. (The last time the Globe polled the race, in March, the result was virtually the same: Brown 37, Warren 35.) Of voters with some familiarity over the heritage issue, 72% say it will not affect their vote.
Springfield Republican poll (Western New England University Polling Institute): Warren 45, Brown 43, undecided 11. (The last time this organization polled the race, in February, Brown was ahead 49-41.) This poll did not specifically ask about the heritage issue, but it did ask voters to say what they thought the most important issue in the race was. The largest number (39%) identified economic issues; “only one of the registered voters in the survey specifically cited the controversy surrounding Warren’s ancestry as the most important issue.”
One of the really interesting things about these recent polls is that two of them (Suffolk and Western New England) had Brown up 8-9 points a couple of months ago, but now are showing dead heat. Rasmussen, too, had Brown up 5 at the beginning of March, but has shown the race tied in its two subsequent polls. In light of the unrelenting media obsession with Warren’s heritage, that is remarkable. Also significant is that in none of these polls is Brown over 50%. The trend, overall, is that Brown is stagnant, and Warren is making slow progress against him.
To be sure, there are warning signs for Team Warren in these polls. Brown’s favorability ratings remain quite high; Warren’s are also good, but the unfav numbers are creeping upward. This is to be expected as a previously-largely-unknown candidate becomes better known to the public, particularly given the media’s unfortunate obsession with what Warren’s parents told her about her forebears decades ago. Still, it’s something to keep an eye on.