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Nathaniel Loewentheil

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If Scott Brown Wants to Live by Polls, He Should Die by Polls

Posted: 03/21/2012 5:30 pm

If you follow the Senate race in Massachusetts polling as closely as you follow the Red Sox during Spring training, you now know that Elizabeth Warren is back in the lead after a couple of weeks of bad polling news.

Tuesday's latest poll from PPP -- now showing Warren up 46-41 -- should be a reminder to Team Brown -- it is a very long season. And, in fact, this is in many ways still pre-season.

It would have been hard to miss that Elizabeth Warren was behind since the Brown campaign viewed last months' polls in their favor as some sort of long lasting victory. The Brown campaign seems to have spent most of its past month touting the polls in the press, on Twitter, on Facebook, and in the blogosphere -- working overtime to push all sorts of narratives, take all sorts of victory laps, and divine all sorts of reasons for their rise in the polls.

Just this week, the Republican Party in MA pushed out a release called, "What they are saying about Professor Warren's flailing campaign." They have been desperate and undisciplined, bending over backwards to act like positive polls eight months before the election anything.

That contrasts sharply with the approach of the Warren campaign, which seems to be focusing on the long game: "We'll let the political pundits debate the polls and watch them go up and down over the course of this campaign," they have said. "Elizabeth will keep working her heart out to talk to the people of Massachusetts about what she'll do as their US Senator to help middle class families get ahead."

Tuesday's news proves once again the obvious point that the Warren campaign has been saying all along: polls go up and down. One day you're ahead, the next poll you are behind. That shouldn't surprise anyone in a competitive election. Polls this early have fluctuated wildly and will continue to, as voters are just forming their initial impressions. Brown's campaign isn't ready to abandon their rhetoric, however; just after the poll was released, Eric Fehrnstrom questioned the accuracy of the poll on Twitter.

Brown's campaign is on pace to lose credibility quickly -- and start looking like amateurs -- if they forget that eight months is a long time. It's time they remember that if they want to live by the polls, they can die by them too.