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Will Lack of Obama Enthusiasm Hurt Warren?

Saturday, August 04, 2012


Overall support for President Obama has fallen since his election in 2008, and the question is being raised of whether or not this will affect other important races. Numbers also show that young voters -- a critical demographic for Obama -- are expected to turnout in lower numbers.

In the Mass. race for the US Senate seat, opponents Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) are locked in a close battle. Both campaigns have been guilty of trying to link the local candidates with their party’s Presidential nominee, especially when the other side’s gaffes, blunders, and flip-flopping help their cause.

Just How Similar Are the Two Races?

While campaigns will make the assertions that the Senate race is comparable to the Presidential race, Jennifer Duffy at the Cook Political Report says this just isn’t the case.

“The Senate race won’t be a microcosm of the presidential contest. If that were true, then Brown would be trailing Warren by ten points or more,” she said. “Yes, Democrats will try to link Brown to Romney as often as possible. I’m surprised that they haven’t done it more, but I see an increased effort to do this.”

Duffy says that Brown’s “narrative of bi-partisanship” has kept him fairly well protected from these accusations from the Warren camp:

“But, as we’ve seen in this race, Brown talks about working with Obama often. This plays well into his overall narrative of bi-partisanship,” Duffy said. “Warren will tie herself to Obama whenever possible because it helps her. Witness the television ad featuring the President that the campaign ran when they were trying to change the subject on the Native American problem. To me, that ad looked like a closer; something a campaign would run in October. So it would seem that the campaign believes that the President is a powerful endorsement for her.”

‘You Didn’t Build That’

Both Warren and Obama have recently asserted that business owners didn’t become successful on their own, but with a system to help them. This has become a huge sticking point for the Brown camp and Mass Republicans who want to tie Warren to “job-destroying” tactics.

“Not only did Professor Warren originate the ‘you didn’t build it’ philosophy, she also claimed to be the intellectual founder of the Occupy protests,” said Brown campaign spokesperson, Alleigh Marre. “Her radical, anti-free enterprise rhetoric is so far out of the mainstream that her speaking role at the Democratic Convention was downgraded.”

The Warren campaign and the Massachusetts Democratic Party have been refuting this issue. MassDems Party Chair, John Walsh, said, “Brown and Romney had to resort to empty attacks because neither has a plan to create jobs.”

“The fact is, attacking President Obama and running the same campaign as Mitt Romney will only show voters whose side Scott Brown is on,” said Warren spokesperson, Julie Edwards.

Still, this comparison has encouraged the Brown camp’s stance that Warren is part of the liberal elite. Brown recently kicked off his “Thank You For Building This” series in which he will visit local businesses, delivering a gift basket of bagels and coffee to employers and employees.

Marre said that Warren’s push for another stimulus package is only following past failed policies.

“Senator Brown has a very different approach. He believes that we should be encouraging success, not demonizing it, and creating a business-friendly environment for our job creators by keeping taxes low on everyone,” she said.

Obama’s Slump?

Numbers released in July from a Gallup poll show that the young voters, age 18 to 29, are less likely to vote this election season compared to Obama’s election year, something that may hurt Warren, if she’s banking on getting the votes for the Democrat’s side of the ticket in November.

“Fifty-eight percent of U.S. registered voters aged 18 to 29 say they will ‘definitely vote’ this fall, well below the current national average of 78% and far below 18- to 29-year-olds’ voting intentions in the fall of 2004 and 2008,” the report says.

Gallup’s Numbers

Another recent poll from Gallup confirmed Obama’s drop off – only thirteen states and Washington D.C. still give him majority approval, and while Massachusetts is one of those thirteen, it’s only by a small portion.

Mass reported a 55 percent approval rating, while nationally, his approval rating averaged below 40 percent.

Ties Between Warren and Obama

Elizabeth Warren’s credentials are closely tied to the President, with his endorsement and her role as Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Obama.

Warren has also been selected to be a speaker at the Democratic National Convention in September.

Romney and Brown Likenesses

The Warren campaign has also been attempting to make the race into a microcosm of the Presidential race. Warren has repeatedly slammed Brown for “voting with the Republicans” on tax issues and healthcare, lumping the touted second most bipartisan Senator with the rest of the right-wing.

Regardless of the ‘you didn’t build that’ statements and the possibility of a slump in enthusiasm for Obama’s reelection, the Warren camp is gladly aligning with Obama and maintain that Brown, Romney, and the GOP are the other side of the issues.

“Elizabeth stands with President Obama and is proud of his endorsement,” Edwards said. “Elizabeth is building support all across Massachusetts from people who know she will fight to level the playing field so middle class families and small businesses can get ahead.” 


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