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Brown Warren Race May Decide Control of Congress

Thursday, August 02, 2012


A new poll from Rasmussen Reports shows that the race between Brown and Warren may decide control over Congress and that the GOP be the one with an advantage to the race. The Senate majority will likely be determined by a collection of contested swing states, Mass being one of them.

David King, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government says that with swing states holding the key to controlling the Senate, Massachusetts will continue to be a key player. Polls currently show the local race in a neck and neck tie and King does not expect it to let up soon.

“Massachusetts should stay close up until the end,” he said. “And though the campaigns haven’t been too bitter yet, you can expect a flood of money from outside-funded campaigns and Super PACs.”

According to numbers at RealClearPolitics, Massachusetts sits with challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) receiving 43.3 percent, and the incumbent, Senator Scott Brown (R) with 43.2 percent.

Press secretery for the Warren campaign, Alethea Harney said, "We expect this race will be close, but we know that Elizabeth will be out there day in and day out working hard to earn thevotes of men and women across the Commonwealth." She added that the opposing side has stood firmly on several issues that would be bad for residents statewide.

While the Mass Senator has sold himself as a moderate, Harney said, "Scott Brown would hand over control of the Senate to Republicans whose views are wildly out of line with the views of Massachusetts residents."

GoLocal reached out to the Brown campaign for comments, but received no response.

Fighting to the Finish Line

All of this attention King says, won’t come without a share of political brawling. He expects the race to heat up.

“It’ll get really nasty,” he said.

Jen Lawless, Director of the Women & Politics Institute, School of Public Affairs at American University, agreed, saying, “This is one of the most important races in the country for a couple of reasons, one being the amount of money being given to the campaigns and the publicity surrounding that money has been huge,” she said. “I think it’ll be a relatively dirty race, as all high profile races this season will be.”

A Look at the Polls

According to Rasmussen Reports, which routinely monitors public opinion and politics, there will be 49 seats held by Republicans and 46 held by Democrats. The site rates the other five remaining seats as toss-ups.

The five states that can’t be called are Indiana, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico and Virginia. If Rasmussen’s predictions are correct, Republicans only need to win two of those toss-up seats and Democrats would need to sweep them to retain a majority.

King says that these numbers, however, should be taken with a grain of salt.

“The polls should be read with lots of caution. Different polling firms are predicting different outcomes,” he said. “And, for my money, The Rasmussen surveys continue to be the most Republican biased out there.”

King said that RealClearPolitics and Five Thirty Eight polls are more in his favor. Five Thirty Eight has the Republicans with 43 Senate seats, the Dems with 41.

“Five more in that poll lean Dem., three lean Republican, and eight are pure toss-ups,” King said.

Real Clear Politics is currently listing the Democrats with 47 assured seats, and Republicans landing 46, leaving the remaining eight as toss-ups.

By these numbers, Democrats would have to win half the seats listed as toss-ups and Republicans would need to win five. Republicans are only defending two of those eight seats. The other six are currently held by Democrats.

As the Real Clear Politics' average indicates, all of the polls have this race tied, and as King indicated, both contesters have their advantages. Massachusetts has a history of voting for the left side, which will help Warren, but Brown is a favorable Republican who is already in office.

Presidential Influence

While Lawless said that the race for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts will not simply be a microcosm of the Presidential race, King says that the issues they discuss will set the pattern in many states.

“I don’t know what big issues will surface in the states. There’ll be a different flavor in each state, though not to extent that we usually see in off-year elections like 2010,” he said. “Because this is an on-year election, there will be huge media buys for the presidential campaigns, so the issues that Obama and Romney push in each state will probably make the loudest noise.”

The race between Brown and Warren has already proven to be the most expensive in US history, showing that this seat is a toss-up neither party can afford to lose.

Warren's press secretery said, "The Republican agenda has been very clear: repeal the Affordable Care Act, repeal Wall Street reform and continue taxpayer giveaways for big oil and big corporations," she said. "If the Republicans have control of the Senate, they are going to go right back to the same policies that brought our economy to its knees in 2008."


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