Poll: Democrat Locks Up Massachusetts Senate Race While Obama Approval Number Craters

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 24 2013 1:36 PM

Poll: Democrat Locks Up Massachusetts Senate Race While Obama Approval Number Craters

When the polls close tomorrow, those of us who predicted the result in Massachusetts' special Senate race will take a victory lap. Even now, before the vote, we can shovel dirt on the campaign's silliest meme.

It started with one poll—Suffolk. In May, when the general election between Democrat Ed Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez looked inevitable, Suffolk gave Markey a 17-point lead. One month later a new Suffolk poll gave Markey a 7-point lead. Paul Bedard, a Washington Examiner columnist whose job appears to be "getting links on the Drudge Report," posited that "[t]he wave of scandals washing over President Obama's White House is starting to slam his team." The president's job approval number had fallen from 63 percent to 57 percent—surely that explained the Markey swoon.

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Nope! The new Suffolk poll, released today, has Markey rising again to a 10-point lead. The spike happens despite a further melt in the Obama numbers.

His job performance numbers have fallen from 63 percent approve-32 percent disapprove in May to 57 percent approve-37 percent disapprove in early June to 47 percent approve-43 percent disapprove today. Fifty-five percent of voters say they do not trust the federal government to protect individual privacy, while 31 percent say that they do.

So why no downgrade for Markey? Because this was always a ridiculous theory of causality.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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