MA-Sen: Brown Leads Capuano, Elizabeth Warren

(Please give a warm welcome to brownsox (aka Arjun Jaikumar) who is joining our horserace superteam – promoted by DavidNYC)

Pretty reasonable numbers, but a dodgy-looking sample.

Western New England College (PDF) (3/6-10, Massachusetts voters):

Michael Capuano (D): 38

Scott Brown (R-inc): 51

Elizabeth Warren (D): 34

Scott Brown (R-inc): 51

(MoE: ±4.5%)

The toplines are pretty much in line with what other pollsters have shown, like PPP. Brown has a solid lead, hovering around 50%, while his prospective opponents aren’t especially well known (one difference between WNEC’s poll and PPP’s is that Mike Capuano, tested in both polls, has impeccable 30/14 favorables in WNEC’s poll and pretty lousy 26/27 favorables in PPP’s).

Brown also leads Elizabeth Warren, who WNEC decided to poll for reasons best known to them (though check out those 17/3 favorables – Mike Beebe, eat your heart out!)

Like a lot of university polls, though, WNEC’s sample seems bizarre – 34% Democrats, 12% Republicans and 47% independents (the remainder responded “something else”). That’s very low on Democrats for a Massachusetts poll – the 2008 exit polls were 43% Dem, 17% Republican, 40% indie. Still, the toplines are close enough to everybody else’s numbers that they seem likely to be accurate. So the question is, can Brown lose?

He’s popular, but unlikely to get much more popular than he already is, especially as he continues to vote with Republican leadership to cut jobs and slash Medicare benefits. And popular Republicans can lose in Massachusetts in Presidential election years – ask former Governor Bill Weld, who ran for the Senate after receiving an eye-popping 71% of the vote in his 1994 reelection. Weld lost to John Kerry by seven points, 52% to 45%, helped in no small part by Bill Clinton’s 33-point romp in Massachusetts.

So sure, Brown can lose. He starts in a strong position for reelection, though, and it will take an exceptional campaign to unseat him.

95 thoughts on “MA-Sen: Brown Leads Capuano, Elizabeth Warren”

  1. At the end of the day, I think Capuano is the nominee (if Warren runs, she probably loses in the primary, ala fellow intellectual/progressive fave Robert Reich in the ’02 gubernatorial race) and Brown probably wins by around 53-46. The sample’s not perfect, sure, but the toplines seem wholly plausible. And, FWIW, I don’t think Obama’s headed to a 33-point romp here, at least vs. a Romney or Daniels. I think Romney would be the first GOP nominee to break 40% since Bush ’41.

  2. Would he be an upgrade?  And would polling him show us a more likely scenario with Brown against a known Democrat? (As whomever runs will likely shower the state with ads before all is said and done)

  3. According to the poll, if they aren’t reported there are less than 40 responses.

    This means at most the 18-29 vote comprised 10% of the electorate, versus 17% in 2008 and 16% in 2004.

    You can see the same thing in the PPP polling in March. Maine was 6% (against 16% in 2008 and 17% in 2004), Virginia was at 9% (versus 21% in 2008 and 17% in 2004), Wisconsin was 10% (22% in 2008 and 20% in 2004) for example.  

    Polling on 2012 still is finding an electorate similar to 2010.  There are two explanations:

    1.  The young are really turned off and won’t come out in 2012 like they did in ’04 or ’08.

    2.  The young haven’t focused on these races but will.  

    If number 2 is true you can conclude that polling of likely voters at this point in time is understating the Democratic vote by about 5 points.  If number 1 is right we are so screwed…..

    Of course, if number 2 is correct, Brown is under 2.

    My bet is on number 2, since the falloff in 2010 was almost identical to the falloff in 2006.

    BTW the exit poll numbers are easy to find – I have a book so I am not going to link to each example.

  4. I think the number of people who voted for him in 2010 but won’t next time around as least as likely as not to exceed the number of people who didn’t vote for him last time and will this time.

    Then we throw in the people who didn’t vote in 2010 but generally did in 2008 and are likely to in 2012 and I think Brown goes down.

    One interesting thing I figured out following the 2010 elections is that individual candidates matter less than many close observers of election think they do. The wave swept in all sorts of people who looked for all the world like weak Republican candidates.

    With the roll of seats that are up next year our side needs this seat badly unless we want to see a Republican-run Senate come January 2013.  

  5. for thread-jacking BUT i just got the dailykos numbers on the WI recall and the numbers look damn good for a solid recall effort to possibly change the balance of power in the state senate

  6. recognition does Capuano have statewide?

    Elizabeth Warren I’m sure has little name rec. but got 34%. And Capuano did only 4% better than that.

    Whereas with Brown’s acclaim by the MSM over the past year, his name recognition is massive.

    Shit, he even was book touring here in California a couple weeks ago selling his f*ing memoir.

  7. 1. Brown is popular. His fiscally conservative/socially moderate style fits state generally well, especially with people concerned foremost about economy. And he is not Scott Walker even on economy..

    2. Democrats have no frontrunner, and those mentioned are not especially popular and/or well known

    3. The race will tighten considerably by November 2012, that’s sure. But Weld’s example doesn’t impress me: after all he ran against incumbent Democratic Senator (almost impossible to beat in MA), and in 1996, when Gingrich’s Conggress and Republican platform (“Contract with America”) were extremely unpopular in Massachusetts. Brown is an incumbent himself, and (once again) – a popular one.

    So, so far Brown is a favorite, and rather clear favorite – double-digit advantagefor Republican in Democratic Massachusetts is a big thing. But i think this race will nedd (may be even multiple) reevaluation – say, by November 2011

  8. 1. There was a highly unpopular Republican congress, and Republicans had majorities in both houses.

    2. Weld was outspent 3 to 2, and it was closer to 2-1 with outside groups.

    3. Dole got 28% of the vote in MA. Weld got 45%. Thats a 17% point difference. No one seriously expects any Republican other than Palin to go below 35-36%. The major story in MA over the last few years has been the solidification of the albeit small GOP vote. They did not win anything statewide in 2010, but they got over 40% in four statewide races. The last time that happened was in 1966. They got to 40% in six congressional districts as well.

  9. once they get known.  A marginally popular dude or dudette who has been around awhile is the exact thing we don’t need to defeat Brown.

    The only problem is a fresh face doesn’t poll well now because they are by definition basically unknown.

  10. People love to cite Lincoln Chafee, but for every Chafee there have been lots of off-party Senators who won wide margins for re-election (e.g. Kent Conrad). I’m also sceptical of the “Brown will lose for right-wing voting” hypothesis. Surely the Kent Conrads of the world also made some votes that would have been fairly unpopular with their states, yet it doesn’t seem their opponents were able to make much of it.

    Also, the Weld analogy isn’t very good, particularly because there’s a big difference between gubernatorial races and federal races.

Comments are closed.