Saturday, November 03, 2012

Brown versus Warren: A pre-Election Day view

Back in August, I offered a pre-Labor Day view of the Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren race for US Senate here in Massachusetts.  I suggested that Warren was in trouble on the emotional front having "failed, so far, to convey in a visceral way who she is and why we should like her."

The polls now show a close race with Warren ahead by several points. I'm hearing otherwise in my unscientific research.  My non-random sample (in Middlesex county) has been college-education, employed men and women who view themselves as being on the liberal end of the political spectrum.  I first ask them how they handicap the race and, without provocation, most then tell me how they really feel.  These are the kind of sentiments I get from men:

He's a good guy who works in a bi-partisan manner.  We need people like that in a divided Congress.

From women:

I feel like she is lecturing at me, and I am tired of it.  I don't want to have to listen to that for the next six years.

From both:

Isn't it a good idea for Massachusetts to have some Republicans in the delegation?

These reactions are in spite of an acknowledgment that they might agree more with Warren's policy prescriptions.

Interestingly, the presence of young Joe Kennedy as the apparently anointed replacement for Congressman Barney Frank may have a spill-over effect into the Senate race.  People seem to take his election as a sure thing because of the family dynasty, but they are uncomfortable with that presumption, even if they plan to vote for him.  How odd if his being on the ballot actually causes cross-overs to Brown!

Speaking of cross-overs, let's consider the impact of the elimination of polling machines--where you just run you hand down a bunch of levers and vote for one party--to the use of paper ballots--where you can't.  I voted early this week because I will be away for election day.  You have to work hard to vote a party line.  The placement of the Democrat and Republican on the ballot is different in each race (President, Senator, Representative.)  While Obama will sweep the state (after all, we really know Romney!) I expect to see a lot of cross-overs this year in the other races in Massachusetts.


Anonymous said...

This is kind of an off the wall comment, but, although I do not live in MA, I happened to hear a Warren ad on the radio (while trying to find you on NPR, Paul). Her hi-pitched voice does nothing good for the feeling of being hectored or lectured to. Yet another reminder that factors beyond our control such as appearance, voice or manner can affect elections as well as our own presentations.


Anonymous said...

I am a college educated person, and I will vote for Elizabeth Warren. Many, many, college grads I know will do the same. I think your unscientific poll is extremely biased. If a man said what Elizabeth Warren said I suspect he would be seen as forthright, not "lecturing."

Marilyn said...

There is an anti- woman sentiment, including the anti-"smart woman" bias, still alive & well in Massachusetts and DC. It certainly hurt Hillary's chances in 2008. Even Obama scornfully deemed Clinton just "likeable enough". I'm sick of it and I hope Warren wins.

During this nasty campaign, Mr. Brown showed us that he is not a "nice guy". If not that, then what is he?

Anonymous said...

So - ummmm - you were wrong. And I'm pleased about that.

There is a double standard - and I doubt you can see that this is so.

Paul Levy said...

I guess there is not a double standard among the population as a whole, in that she won--the ultimate indicator! That's good news.

Anonymous said...

20 women in the Senate, I hear. That IS good news - for women as well as the Senate.


Paul Levy said...

That's good progress, but still short of equal representation. Getting close, though.

I look forward to the day when it is so common that we no longer think it newsworthy when women or minorities achieve high elective office.