Need some good news today? Here you go. Elizabeth Warren has jumped into the lead in the Massachusetts Senate race over Scott Brown. Granted, it's very early in the race, but initial polls had her down 9 points over Brown, and now she leads 46-44.
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. In early December his approval was a +24 spread at 53/29. By June it had declined to a +12 spread at a 48/36. And now it's continued that fall to its current place.
Brown's position has always been a little tenuous as a Republican in a strongly Democratic state, making him very dependent on the support of Obama voters to stay above ground. In June he was at 72/17 with McCain voters and now he's at 74/18, pretty much the same. But with Obama voters he's gone from 35/48 to 27/62, accounting for the entire drop in his overall approval numbers. It's a similar story when you look at the horse race numbers. Last time Brown led Warren 87-6 with McCain voters and now it's 87-9. But with Obama voters Warren's turned what was only a 47-24 lead into a 68-20 one.
Despite his difficulties with Warren, Brown does continues to hold a wide advantage over the rest of the Democratic field. He's up 15 points on Alan Khazei at 48-33, 15 on Setti Warren as well at 47-32, 18 on Bob Massie at 49-31, and 19 on Tom Conroy at 50-31. The non-Elizabeth Warren Democratic contenders have only 19-36% name recognition so they could conceivably become more competitive if one of them were to win the nomination and become better known- but primary numbers we'll release later this week show that the contest for the Democratic nod might be over before it's even really started.
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