In major elections, Suffolk polls “bellwether” cities a couple of days before election day. These are cities that have an excellent track record of going with the winner. This year, Suffolk polled Waltham and Gloucester. Both are voting for Elizabeth Warren. (Note that Suffolk says that its bellwether model “is 95 percent accurate in predicting outcomes but is not designed to predict margin of victory.”)
Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren led Republican Scott Brown in two bellwether areas, the city of Waltham (50 percent to 47 percent) and the city of Gloucester (53 percent to 45 percent). In the last three presidential elections, these two areas had all three U.S. Senate outcomes correct and were close to the statewide vote as well.
Meanwhile, the Herald, who in late September released a poll that looked an awful lot like an outlier when compared to other polling released around the same time, has done it again. The last three polls have had Warren up 6 (Public Policy Polling), 4 (Western New England), and 7 (Suffolk). Even Rasmussen had Warren up 5 the last time it polled here. But the Herald’s poll has Scott Brown up 1, 49-48. Go figure.
There are two points worth noting about the Herald’s poll. First, its September poll had Brown up 5 (everyone else had Warren ahead), so even the Herald shows substantial movement toward Warren. Second, we have this hilarious line from Joe Battenfeld in the Herald’s write-up:
The poll shows Brown holding a 49-48 percent advantage over Warren among likely voters, dispelling earlier polls and Democratic claims of a small Warren lead.
Ah – of course! All those other polls are rendered irrelevant by the Herald’s masterpiece, which along among polls reports the true state of the electorate. Please, Joe. I’m going to give Battenfeld the benefit of the doubt and assume that “dispelling” was just an unfortunate choice of words in a hastily-written piece rather than reflective of a belief that that’s how polling actually works.
Finally, though, of course it’s possible that the Herald’s result is correct. All the more reason for you to jump on the GOTV train.