If you don’t subscribe to the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest, you should. It’s an amazing compendium of the latest goings-on in important races around the country. You can sign up at this link.
In any event, this morning’s digest has what struck me as a very smart take on yesterday’s poll that showed Scott Brown with a 5-point lead over Elizabeth Warren.
The first PPP poll of the Massachusetts Senate race since they switched over to their likely voter model shows a marked drop for Elizabeth Warren, who had previously been tied with Scott Brown and had led in the polls before that. The main story here may simply be the change in composition, though the 2008 presidential sample isn’t particularly odd at 58-33 Obama; the actual vote was 62-36. But another story is that Brown’s approvals do seem to be rebounding from earlier in the year while Warren isn’t winning undecided voters over as they come off the fence. Brown’s approval rating now stands at 53/36, up from 45/42 in March (when it was his turn to trail by 5). Warren, by contrast, has 46/43 favorables, compared with 46/33 in March.
It doesn’t seem like Warren is on track to win this purely on likeability grounds, but PPP’s Tom Jensen sees Brown’s Achilles heel here: Even while 54% of voters think he’s “about right” ideologically, 56% also think that the GOP in general is “too conservative,” and more importantly, 53% of voters would like Democrats to be in charge of the Senate, compared with 36% who would like Republicans to control the chamber. Warren’s problem is that only 76% of those voters who want Democrats to be in charge are in powers planning to vote for her. The roadmap here is to follow the same path as Sheldon Whitehouse vs. Lincoln Chafee in 2006, another case of taking down a likeable moderate by tying him at every turn to the national party and educating voters about how the Senate as a whole functions… a lesson which hasn’t seemed to sink in with a large enough share of Massachusetts voters yet.
I completely agree with this assessment. Nobody will ever out-”likable” Scott Brown. The question, really, is whether (to quote myself a few months ago) “an affable, somewhat bumbling, mildly conservative fellow” is good enough, or whether Massachusetts can do better – particularly when our affable Senator may not be ideologically totally in sync with the GOP leadership, but he nonetheless enables them by voting them into power, and by joining their filibusters more often than not.
Meanwhile, for your viewing pleasure, BMG is pleased to present this delightful nugget from 1983, sent along by an alert reader.