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MA-Sen: Warren Takes Slim Lead Over Brown in PPP Poll

One of the heroes of Ron Suskind’s book, according to reports, is Elizabeth Warren, though eventually she is stymied by Tim Geithner at Treasury. Warren is out of the White House now and running for US Senate in Massachusetts. Many have cautioned that this is a bad idea, because of the dysfunction of the Senate and the risk to her ideas and values, particularly on the middle class and consumer protection, if she loses. But after being down by double digits, the publicity generated by her first week in the race has put her out to a small lead over Scott Brown in a head to head matchup, 14 months out.

Elizabeth Warren has had an incredibly successful launch to her Senate campaign and actually leads Scott Brown now by a 46-44 margin, erasing what was a 15 point deficit the last time we polled the state in early June.

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.

The anti-incumbent mood in the country looks to be catching up with Brown. And Warren’s long introduction to Massachusetts voters with an exploratory committee has paid off. With name ID still not at a ceiling, there’s room for Warren to improve her standing.

Brown beats the rest of the candidates running in the Democratic primary by 15-20 points, so this appears particularly confined to Warren. She now has an electability argument for the primary. And according to PPP, “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,” suggesting that she’s way ahead.

There’s definitely a bounce effect here, since the poll was taken while Warren announced. And not one dime in negative ads has been dropped on her. But considering where the numbers were a few months ago, this is an excellent path forward.

POSTSCRIPT: Maybe this means that Warren shouldn’t hold out for that Goldman Sachs executive position, after all.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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