Two new polls over the weekend showed Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren maintaining her post-convention lead over Scott Brown. One poll by the Springfield Republican newspaper shows a six-point lead, with Warren at 50 percent to the Republican incumbent Scott Brown's 44 percent. Public Policy Polling shows her with a two-point edge among likely voters, at 48 percent to 46 percent. The race has been a true toss up, with both popular candidates holding a lead at various times in what is, overall, a close race.
The problem for Warren as a challenger has always been that voters like Scott Brown, and generally approve of the job he's doing. She's had to make them like her better, which is a challenge for any newcomer, even a naturally good candidate like Warren. When I spoke to a few volunteers in July, they were worried about Brown's appeal—they had knocked on a number of doors of voters who felt Brown was a nice man, and they didn't know Warren. These polls show, more than anything, that the race is likely to remain close through Election Day, and that both candidates still have appeal.
The Democrats gave Warren a prime spot at the convention, and she gave the sort of populist speech she'd already become famous for giving. But she was both comfortable and amplified on the stage, which is a hard trick to pull off. She's still reaping the benefits of what most agree was a great performance. Brown, in contrast, tries to keep a relatively low profile as a party guy—if he wins in Massachusetts, it'll be because voters there view him as an independent.
Whether he wants to portray himself as a party person or not, though, Brown is a critical component of the Republicans' plans to take over the Senate; Warren is a part of the Democrats' plan to keep control. Both candidates have promised to keep negative ads out of the race, but the high road is a lonely one in a national election like this—they very well may not be able to keep third-party negative ads out. The race is only going to get more attention as we near November.
(Full disclosure: Warren's daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, is a member of the American Prospect's board of directors.)