A Lot of Voters Aren’t Loyal to Elizabeth Warren

A WBUR poll finds that 46 percent of them are open to sending 'someone else' to Washington.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

She may be embracing her role as instigator-in-chief, may be a leading voice of the Donald Trump resistance movement and one of the best known politicians in America, and she may just be preparing to run for president in 2020. But a new poll of voter sentiment in this tumultuous time shows her support in Massachusetts is not necessarily a guarantee.

According to a poll conducted by WBUR, 46 percent say it’s time to “give someone else a chance.” The Democrat, who’s been a Senator since 2013, is up for re-election in 2018. Of the 508 people surveyed, only 44 percent said she “deserved re-election.”

The results challenge her reputation as a Senator popular and beloved at home, and while they can’t really predict what will happen in two years’ time—particularly with the unpredictability of a Trump in the White House—the results are not good, says pollster Steve Koczela.

“No one’s going to look at a 44 percent reelect number and think that that’s a good number,” Koczela, president of The MassINC Polling Group that conducted the survey, tells WBUR. “No one’s going to look at it being close to even between ‘re-elect’ and ‘give someone else a chance’ and think that that’s reassuring.”

The same poll found voters had a much rosier opinion of Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican. Baker’s had unusually high approval levels for the way he’s been running the state, and he doesn’t have nearly the same partisan instincts as his colleagues in Washington—notably refusing to endorse or vote for Donald Trump when he was his party’s nominee. Just 29 percent of voters think it’s time for “someone else” to have his job.

Anyone who gets the idea to run against Warren for her Senate seat would have to contend with a handsomely funded and well-connected candidate, and one with the support of a party that, on the national level, has a lot of interest in keeping her around. With one exception—or two, if you include rumors about a Republican businessman Rick Green stepping in—no one has yet emerged as a credible challenger.

And if the challenge comes from Curt Schilling, the Red Sox pitcher turned sentient-all-caps-chain-email who has said he intends to run, the odds are long that she would be unseated. Another WBUR poll from September found the ex-athlete and current shock-jock’s support in the state to be about 29 percent, to Warren’s 54 percent.

She is also seizing her moment right now, and with each new confrontation her profile grows. Warren spoke to the 175,000-strong crowd at the Boston Women’s March for America on Saturday (“We can whimper. We can whine. Or we can fight back!” she said). She didn’t hold back while roasting the CEO of Wells Fargo, scoring oodles of points with progressives, she was a champion of reclaiming the “nasty women” moniker, she recently filed that conflicts of interest legislation targeting the White House, and she tweets and says things that seem genetically engineered to piss our new president off. All that charisma can, and has, backfired, though. She found herself in an uncomfortable spotlight late last year when she pilloried a hedge fund manager on Facebook, only to learn later she had misinterpreted his snark and that she and he are essentially on the same side.

Anyway, maybe the election in 2018, which at this point feels like a million years from now, won’t be a coronation for Massachusetts’ liberal star.