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Mass. Democrats: Scott Brown's Liberal Reputation Hurts Elizabeth Warren's Chances

In our inaugural “Blue Commonwealth" survey, influential Democrats paint an early picture for November's general election.

A majority of influential Massachusetts Democrats thinks Scott Brown's reputation of being a "liberal conservative" will cost Elizabeth Warren votes from those Massachusetts voters who usually vote Democratic: that's the main finding of Patch's Inaugural Red Commonwealth survey.

When Patch asked if Democrats think that so far, Elizabeth Warren has effectively explained how she will push for traditional Democratic issues like women's rights, education for all and vote against corporate greed, the majority said she had.

Forty responses were collected, a majority of which agreed Brown is making inroads with traditionally Democratic voters. One hundred twenty three Massachusetts Democrats were surveyed last week in Patch’s inaugural Blue Commonwealth poll, which focused on the race for Brown's U.S. Senate seat. 

When Patch asked Democrats which traditional Democratic issue Warren should focus more on, the majority said "corporate greed." The second biggest response was "education for all" followed by "women's rights."

When asked how Warren differs from former Democratic challenger against Brown, Attorney General Martha Coakley, one respondent said:

"Elizabeth Warren has a clearer message due to her work on corporate mismanagment and greed. Martha Coakley never had solid footing on a message. Coakley's aura of being the heir apparent as a Democrat was too bright."

Another political influencer detailed the ways in which Warren is perceived as stronger than Coakley.

"There are many differences. First, Warren's campaign is working much harder and more effectively to communicate her differences from the GOP incumbent. Second, where Coakley ran against Scott Brown's promises, Elizabeth Warren is running against his record. Brown promised independence, but once he got to the Senate, he voted with his Tea Party Republican bosses on the issues that matter to Massachusetts voters: Against creating jobs, against lowering student loan rates, against keeping Wall Street honest. Three years ago, Massachusetts voters thought Brown's barn coat was cheap and his promises were valuable -- now we know it's the other way around."

Another respondent said Warren, herself, knows the challenges of being the subject of economic inequality.

"Elizabeth Warren has been on the subject of economic inequality for 30 years, she is the foremost expert on that subject," the respondent said. "She has an amazing track record as an activist for the common man. This is the defining issue of our time. With Citizens United, unparalleled recklessness on Wall Street, onslaughts to programs like Medicare and Medicaid, we are heading toward plutocracy. Warren is the right candidate for these times because this has always been her area of focus."

But despite the overwhelming response detailing Warren's strength as a candidate this time around, one respondent said: "Having a hard time discriminating between the two."

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 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. Surveys were conducted from July 13 to July 24, 2012.

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, please contact Associate Regional Editor Katie Curley-Katzman at katherine@patch.com.

 

Blue Commonwealth Survey Roster: Richard Sidney (Natick Democratic Committee Member), Betsy Johnson (Democratic activist), Steve O'Leary (Reading Selectman), Parwez Wahid (Democratic Committee Chair), Anne Worth (Chelmsford public schools volunteer), Ron Sayer (Chelmsford public schools volunteer), Mike Coombs (web developer), Alex Buck (running for State Senate), Angie Taranto (retired teacher), James Aciero (State Rep.), George Allen (scientist), Naomi Drebeen (town democratic chair), Kevin Donaher (Boston Housing Partnership), Steve Iannaccone (public administration), Mary DeChillo (social work professor), Chris Ryder (Peabody Mayor's Chief of Staff), Tom Gould (Selectman), James Liacos (Councilor-At-Large, Peabody), Rico Mello (Peabody City Council), Artha Athas (Peabody City Council), Josh Turiel (Salem City Council), Robert McCarthy (Salem City Council), Debbie Amaral (Salem School Committee), Marsha Finkelstein (field organizer), Joan Lovely (Salem City Council), Nate Bryant (Salem School Committee), Eric Wildman (Melrose Democrat), Mike Festa (Melrose Democratic Committee), Bonnie Cronin (Melrose Democratic Committee), Bonnie Cronin (Melrose Democratic Committee), Lisa Loveland (Melrose Democrat), Deborah Giso (Obama for America), Alan Leo (Warren Campaign), Mario Portillo (democratic committee), Lizabeth DeSelm (chemist), Joseph M. Phillips (consulting broker/agent), Holly Soutter (activist), Tom Mahone (Democratic Committee Chair), Ben Tafoya (Reading Democrat), Joe Forti (Reading Democrat), Jill Onderdonk (Westwood Democrat), Mike Jaillett (Westwood Town Administrator), Michael Walsh (alternate delegate to DNC), Greg Agnew (town democratic committee), Alyssa O'Keefe (Salem Democrat), Marilyn Hazel (Danvers Democrat), Ted Speliotis (State Rep.), Christopher Gagnon (Danvers Democrat), Julie Curtis (Danvers Democrat), Norma Shulman (Framingham Democrat), Phil DeCologero (North Andover Democrat), Mark DiSalvo (North Andover official), Bobby McCarthy (North Andover Democrat), Tricia Melvin (North Andover Democrat), Tom Devin (Braintree School Committee), Steve May (state senate candidate), Marcia Hirshberg (Westwood town committee), John Stefanini (Framingham Democrat), Chris Walsh (Framingham state rep.), Bob Berman (state elected delegate), Elisa Alviza (elected delegate), Anne Cohen (Democrat), Marcia Sweeney (Democrat), Renee Keaney (Democrat), Marilyn Segal (Democrat), Phil Sweeney (Democrat), Walter Horan (Democrat), David Gray (Tewksbury Selectman), Mike Hugo (state delegate), Charlie Sirstisky (state delegate), Barry Finegold (senator), Michael West (blogger), Susanna Sturgis (activist), Richard Knabel (selectman), Tristan Israel (selectman), Genevieve Davis (senate candidate), Dick Duggan (Democrat), Shawn Fitzgibbons (NDCC Chair), Margaret Albright (NDCC Vice Chair-Ward 2), Charlie Shapiro (Governor's Council candidate), Barbara John (Newton city committee), Janet Sterman (Newton city committee), Joe Lawless (Democrat), Tim LeCam (Democrat), Patricia Dunphy (Democrat), Anne Jarek (Democrat), Jeanne E. Craigie (retired teacher), Stas Gayshen (Democrat convention), Jon Saxton (town committee), Michael Gilbreath (town committee), Steve Owens (town committee), David Leon (Democrat), Susan Falkoff (Town Councilor), Richard Marcus (Steering Committee co-chair), Kelly Durkee Erwin (Aide to Sen. Fargo), Thomas Stanley (state rep.), Bob Gonsalves (professor, poet, activist), Chuck Viola (former alderman candidate), Jay Harney (Alderman, DNC),  James Lewis (state rep.), Laura Richter (legal aide), Ted Hess-Mahan (Alderman), Nancy Arents (Democrat), Michael Capuano (state rep.), Joseph Curtatone (Mayor of Sommerville), Patricia Jehlen (state sen.), Denise Provost (state rep.), Dennis Naughton (Foxborough town committee), Jeremy Denlea (Attleboro City Council), Wiliam Rice (Seekonk Democratic Committee), Jim Humphrey (Democrat), John Davis (former city councilor), Martha Sanders (activist), Joe Demers (Democrat).

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