Warren takes a pounding but keeps on ticking

Elizabeth Warren continues to take a pounding about her alleged Native American ancestry, but does it matter?

A poll released this week by David Paleologos of Suffolk University indicates Warren and US Sen. Scott Brown are still running neck and neck (48 percent Brown to 47 percent Warren), indicating that voters don’t care about Pocohontas-gate and/or that Warren’s TV ad buys are trumping media coverage of her ancestry issues.

The Paleologos poll was a big gift to Warren, both for what it contained and for how it was reported by most media outlets. The Globe compared the latest results to Paleologos’s previous poll in February, which showed Warren trailing Brown 49-40, and concluded that Warren had actually made gains over the last few months. Radio Boston said the Suffolk poll showed Warren closing the gap.

More likely, the earlier Paleologos poll was off the mark and the race has been close since December. The Huffington Post, which follows polling closely, reports that the February Paleologos poll asked a series of questions just before the voter preference measure, which may have inflated Brown’s standing. The format of the February poll even drew criticism from Brown’s pollster.

On the Indian issue, the latest Suffolk poll found that nearly three-quarters of voters were aware of Warren’s ancestry issues. Yet when asked if Warren was telling the truth about her Native American background, 49 percent said yes and 28 percent said no. Only 27 percent indicated the issue was a “significant story.”

But that didn’t stop the media barrage from continuing. The Globe, in a front-page story today, raised serious questions about how Warren and Harvard handled her alleged Native American ancestry. And Warren, at a campaign stop in Brookline, looked almost comical as she tried to stay on message as reporters asked her over and over again about her ancestry.

WBUR carried a story but no audio of the back and forth while NECN, in a setup before an interview with Paleologos, gives a good flavor of the exchanges. At one point, with WHDH-TV’s Andy Hiller in her face, Warren says she is proud of her family and proud of her heritage.

Does it include Indian background? Hiller asks.

“Yes, yes,” Warren responds.

“How do you know?” Hiller asks.

“Because my mother told me so. This is how I live.” she says.

                                                                                                                                                            –BRUCE MOHL


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