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Elizabeth Warren's Obama Gap

May 25, 2012
Earlier this month, Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts, ran an ad featuring an extended testimonial from President Obama. She may need more of them.

Warren faces what might be called an Obama gap: in her marquee Senate race against Scott Brown she is winning an unusually small share of the president's supporters. In fact, the latest poll shows Warren winning fewer Obama supporters than any Democratic Senate candidate did in 2010 in a state where the president was popular. Warren is also facing considerably more defection than the Democratic Senate candidates in three other battleground states polled this week.

One senior Republican strategist with access to the party's polling says that in fact Brown is winning a larger share of the voters backing the other party's presidential nominee than any other Senate candidate from either side in a competitive race this year.
As I noted in a recent piece, the share of voters splitting their tickets between a presidential candidate of one party and a Senate candidate of the other has steadily declined since the 1980s. Even in off-year elections, it is now routine for 80 percent or more of the voters who approve of a president's performance to support his party's candidate in competitive Senate races and at least 80 percent of those who disapprove to vote for the other party's candidate.

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