While the majority of election coverage has focused on the contest between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, there’s a growing chance that Republicans have blown their chance to take back the Senate. At least two key races show us how.
In Massachusetts, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren has now pulled ahead of incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown in at least two polls. “Fresh off a new TV ad buy and a prime time convention speech, Elizabeth Warren has improved her popularity and overtaken Scott Brown head-to-head,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “She enters the debate phase of the Senate campaign as the slight favorite, but the race is still fluid, and to win she must avoid peaking too soon.”
In May, 24 percent of Barack Obama voters said they would cross parties to vote for Brown, but now 19 percent said they would cross over. “The Democratic National Convention appears to have connected the dots for some voters in Massachusetts,” said Paleologos. “They’ve linked Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Congressional candidate Joseph Kennedy, whose district includes Southeastern Mass. Warren benefitted not only from her own speech, but from the oratory of others, both inside and outside of Massachusetts.”
One poll finding that could tip a close race back to Brown is the preference of general election voters of all parties for having one Democratic and one Republican Senator in Washington. Fifty percent said there is a benefit to having a member of each party representing Massachusetts in Washington DC, while 45 percent said it didn’t matter. “Call it the party-parity-paradox,” said Paleologos. “Likely voters of all parties see a benefit to having Democrat John Kerry and Republican Scott Brown representing Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.”
Meanwhile in Wisconsin, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) now leads Republican candidate Tommy Thompson among likely voters in the state. This is the second poll to show Baldwin leading since the August Republican primary, proving momentum is on Baldwin’s side — with 90% of likely voters now committed to their choice. Meanwhile, Tommy Thompson’s favorability numbers have plummeted. Among likely voters, 53% have an unfavorable view of the former Republican Governor – including 54% of Independents and even 29% of Republicans, reflecting a more general trend of overall dissatisfaction with Republican leadership and candidates.
The polling represents a significant step forward for Baldwin. Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America responded to the polls. “This is fantastic news for the Baldwin campaign and comes after a grueling month on the campaign trail. Over the past two years we’ve grown to know the voters in Wisconsin as we tirelessly fought to stop cuts against Wisconsin’s middle class. Tammy’s a class act and will be a strong voice for the people and our support remains steadfast to help her win this November.”
Wisconsin and Massachusetts both hold special meaning this election. Wisconsin is home to Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and ground zero in the class warfare Republicans hope to enact if successful in November, while Massachusetts claims Mitt Romney as its former governor and Scott Brown had been a popular Republican freshman elected in the wave of post-Obamacare conservative victories. These races suggest that Republicans’ smoke and mirrors on jobs from the 2010 midterm elections followed by ridiculous congressional overreach on issues like abortion and family planning at the expense of economic revitalization is not a winning combination with a majority of the American electorate.
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