Brown Should Focus on Economy To Beat Warren, MA Republicans Say

After three polls released last week showed Elizabeth Warren ahead of Scott Brown, Patch surveyed influential Massachusetts Republicans to get their take on the tight race.

Republican Sen. Scott Brown should focus on the economy during the final stretch of his campaign to fend off Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren's rise in the polls: that's the main finding of this week's Red Commonwealth survey of influential Massachusetts Republicans.

Three polls by three separate polling organizations showing Warren ahead of Brown—but barely—were released early last week. 

Further illustrating how tight the race has become, hours after Patch sent the survey out to Massachusetts Republicans, another poll by UMass Lowell and the Boston Herald showed Brown ahead of Warren by 6 points, with a 5.5 percent margin of error, after an UMass Lowell/Herald poll nine months ago had Warren leading by 7.

A majority of influential Massachusetts Republicans surveyed, 58.6 percent, said Warren's reported rise in the polls is most likely attributable to a post-Democratic National Convention bump that energized Democrats and left-leaning independents. A few questioned the validity of the polls themselves.

Those surveyed were split on the efficacy of Brown's get-out-the-vote organization compared to Warren's, with 34.5 percent saying it's "somewhat worse" than Warren's, 27.6 saying "no advantage for either," 13.8 percent saying "somewhat better" and 17.2 percent saying "much better."

Focus on Obamacare and Medicare with Seniors, the Economy with Women

Warren led Brown among voters 65 and older by 63-35 in the poll results released last week by Western New England University (WNEU)'s Polling Institute. Asked what they would recommend the Brown campaign do to increase support among seniors, many of the influential Massachusetts Republicans who responded to the survey said Brown should focus on Medicare and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare.

"Drive home the point that Obamacare must be repealed in order to void the billions of dollars taken from Medicare in order to pay for Obamacare & that Brown—not Warren—will carry out that fight," one respondent wrote.

The WNEU poll also showed Brown leading Warren among male voters 49-44, while Warren led among female voters in the same poll 55-40. Asked which strategy Brown should focus on regarding the gender gap, 62.1 percent said that Brown should try to make gains among female voters. 

Asked how Brown could win over more female voters, respondents said that the incumbent should push back against the "War on Women" theme used by Warren's campaign and continue to define himself as "pro-choice," while many said that the senator should look past demographic issues and focus on the economy, jobs and tax policies that affect everyone equally.  

"I am a woman, but I'm far more sophisticated, as most women are, to buy into belittling 'women's issues,'" one respondent wrote. "We, men and women, are concerned about the economic future of ourselves and our country. That unites all of us."

Economy Should Take Precedent

Asked what should be the primary issue that Brown should focus on during the final stretch of the campaign, a number of survey respondents said that Brown should go after Warren for her public image, which one respondent described as "an arrogant, lecturing, smarter-than-you college professor," and for her views described as "radicalism" and "extreme Leftist, anti-business."

However, most of the Republicans surveyed said that the economy should take precedent, with Brown contrasting his views with Warren's. 

"We need jobs, we need to cut the size of government," one respondent wrote. "We need to get the deficit and debt under control. We need to stop demonizing job creators and investors. And we need lower taxes that will in turn produce economic growth and will result in an increase in revenues."

Brown and Warren had their first debate of four last week and almost all of the respondents leaned toward the debates deciding the race, with 62.1 percent somewhat agreeing it would be the deciding factor in the race and 31 percent strongly agreeing.

With regard to polling numbers, one respondent cautioned voters to view any results before the election with a skeptical eye.

"Keep in mind how the Boston Globe poll had Brown written off as a 15-point loser a week ahead of the special election in January 2010," the respondent wrote. "The only poll that really counts takes place on Nov. 6."

Red and Blue Commonwealth Survey
Our surveys are not a scientific, random sample of any larger population, but rather an effort to listen to a group of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders, candidates and elected officials in Massachusetts. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in Massachusetts’ Patch surveys, although not all responded to this story’s questions. Answers have been edited for style, but not for content.

Patch will be conducting Red Commonwealth and Blue Commonwealth surveys throughout the 2012 election season in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and progressives on the ground in Massachusetts. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in periodic surveys that last just a few minutes, contact Associate Regional Editor Daniel DeMaina at danield@patch.com.

Dave Lenane September 28, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I find it funny that Warren supporters are here bashing Scott Brown. But that there is also a very similar blog expressing what Big Chief Warren needs to do to win the election, and yet there is not ONE comment on it. It begs me to ask... Who is really worried about their candidate? Even you Warren supporters have to admit, that that's a pretty good point!
Dave Lenane September 28, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Ben....a man as smart as yourself is certainly not using having recipes published in a cookbook as proof of ancestry....please tell me no! And polls are never accurate my friend. Just last week WCVB had a poll on Wednesday claiming Warren was ahead by 4 points. The NEXT day they referred to their previous days poll as being incorrect and Brown was ahead by four points. Should Warren's heritage be brought into this?.....Probably not. Is it an issue that she claimed it on her application?...I would say yes. When have you seen Dutch as an option when filling out an application that asks for Race? By the way....I'm an American. I was born in this country. And to be honest thats all anyone that was born here really is, and we should all be proud of that!
Proud Resident of Northborough September 29, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Couple of points: Warren’s salary of $340K and the fact that she only teaches ONE class for that money is fair game. Particularly when she decries the cost of higher education. Warren claims to be for the little guy. She made much of her money by flipping foreclosed houses, and another chunk by litigating against asbestos victims. Hypocritical? Lastly, no one is attacking her heritage. They are attacking the fact that everything to date points to her LYING about her heritage. If she didn’t game the system it would be extremely easy for her to release her job applications and put this to rest. The fact that she refuses, speaks volumes.There is a reason her handlers no longer let her speak on her ads. She is a fake and it comes across every time she opens her mouth.
Nod September 29, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Interesting to see how much time is spent discussing whether or not Elizabeth Warren is Native-American. Also, a person's wealth does not mean that they do not have the interest of the working class at heart or that they will not work for all of the people. Not all wealthy people were born into wealth. The issue should be can Ms. Warren do the job and truly represent the people of MA. As a child I was told that my paternal grandmother was "part Native-American" and believed it, esp. since everyone said my father and his brothers had Native American features. I was aroud 50 y.o. when I made a comment to my father about his mother being part "Indian" (the word that had been used prior to our knowledge of the transition to what is politically correct). He responded, "Indian, what Indian, she was half-white!" I didn't ask what her other "half" was. All those years I thought I was part Native-American. Many of us only know what we have been told about our heritage, which is not always correct.
Dave Lenane September 29, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Again Nod....when you check a box on an application that gives you a status as a minority, it is a big deal! That is when affirmative action kicks in and special considerations kick in. It's an issue that needs to be, and should be answered by Warren. The fact that she blatantly lied to get that consideration asks ...What else has she lied about????


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