Senator Scott Brown has tried to distance himself from Governor Mitt Romney during this election, but Brown could get an important boost from Romney’s debate performance Wednesday night.
Romney’s dismal poll numbers in Massachusetts have been Brown’s biggest hurdle, so anything that makes Romney even slightly more competitive in the state could help Brown in a tight election against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.
Most observers have crowned Romney the victor of Wednesday’s debate, though it’s uncertain what impact that will ultimately have on the presidential election.
The most recent Boston Globe poll showed President Obama leading Romney by a sizable 27 percentage points in Massachusetts, with 57 percent in the poll choosing Obama compared with 30 percent choosing Romney. That’s similar to the 28-point spread in a WBUR/Mass Inc. poll.
Warren’s lead over Brown in the Globe poll was far slimmer, 5 percentage points. Other recent polls have shown a slighter edge for Warren, a Democrat, over Brown, a Republican.
So even as Brown has outperformed Romney in the state so far, he is facing strong Democratic headwinds. Any factor that tempers those headwinds—diminished Democratic enthusiasm or an uptick in GOP excitement—could ultimately make a difference in a close race.
Warren on Wednesday night worked to align herself with Obama, sending frequent tweets cheering on the president. Those messages also underscored Brown’s relative silence on behalf of Romney.
Warren, no doubt, will be hoping for a stronger performance from Obama in the next debate, while Brown, perhaps quietly, will be rooting for Romney.Noah Bierman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.