While Republicans across the nation may be benefiting from an anti-Obama mood, one Republican senator may be in political trouble.
Obama Democrat Elizabeth Warren has opened up a 7 percentage point lead over Republican incumbent Scott Brown in the race for his U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts, a new poll reveals.
Scott has apparently failed to win over Bay state voters voters – while alienating many core conservative voters who helped elect him in 2010.
Warren, a prominent consumer activist and former official in President Barack Obama’s administration, received 49 percent of the vote in the University of Massachusetts at Lowell/Boston Herald survey released late on Wednesday, while Scott trailed with 42 percent.
The poll is the first to show Warren with a lead over Brown. The previous UMass survey in late September had Brown just slightly ahead, 41 percent to 38 percent.
Brown won a special election in January 2010 to complete the remainder of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s term, becoming the first Republican to represent Massachusetts in the Senate since 1972.
The 2012 Warren-Brown contest “could determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and the Democrats are making the race one of their top priorities,” according to the Herald.
Some political observers in Massachusetts say Brown is suffering mightily from his failure to rally conservatives in the Bay State.
Right-leaning voters are disturbed that Brown has cast key swing votes in favor of a number of measures important to President Obama’s agenda, and has taken a decidedly liberal stance on several issues:
- Brown voted in favor of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a measure generally opposed by conservatives and backed by congressional Democrats.
- Brown also voted in favor of Obama’s New START bill to reduce America’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, a move that security expert Frank Gaffney said puts the nation in danger.
- Brown was the first Republican to express support for the administration’s nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency strongly opposed by conservatives.
- He was one of just five Republicans to vote for cloture on Obama’s jobs bill in February, and voted for final passage of the bill. He even praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Sen. John Kerry for what he termed their willingness to work across party lines on the measure.
- Conservative commentators including Glenn Beck have criticized Brown for his reluctance to go along with significant budget cuts.
- Brown has said that legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts is a settled issue and he does not seek to overturn it. He opposes a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He also said Roe v. Wade is settled law.
- In December Brown joined a handful of Republicans who broke with the Republican Party and voted to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the ban on openly gay military personnel.
- According to the Washington Post, Brown has voted with the majority of Republicans only 80 percent of the time.
Brown’s 2010 win in an overwhelmingly Democratic state lifted him to immediate national prominence and raised conservatives’ hopes that he would become a leading voice among Senate Republicans and perhaps a presidential aspirant. Those hopes have largely disappeared.
“He’s a fence-sitter,” one respondent in the UMass poll told the Herald. “If he’s going to be a leader he should be a leader.”
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