05-08-2012, 11:06 AM
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Sean Bielat: Joe Kennedy III falls short of ‘myth’
By Hillary Chabot
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 -
Republican congressional hopeful Sean Bielat is touting a 20-point jump in an internal campaign poll that shows he can beat the Kennedy dynasty so long as he focuses on showing voters his rival is “more of a man and less of a myth.”
Bielat is taking his second consecutive run at the 4th Congressional District seat — this time against Camelot grandson Joseph P. Kennedy III.
“The Kennedy name has high recognition in the district, but there has been a sharp deterioration in Kennedy numbers,” said Bielat, who hired the well-known conservative pollsters On Message to survey 456 likely voters in the district. “I can’t see how he does anything but go down from here as he becomes more of a man and less of a myth.”
The 20-point shift occurred last month after a University of Massachusetts Lowell/Boston Herald poll showed Kennedy trouncing Bielat 60 percent to 28 percent in February. The surge still leaves the Brookline native roughly 12 points behind Kennedy.
Bielat’s campaign, which detailed its poll numbers but declined to share a full copy of the poll, said his strategy would focus on wooing independent voters in more conservative communities added to the district in the legislative redistricting this year. Bielat said that includes towns such as Hopkinton and Bellingham.
“Where the most independent votes are and where people are open to hearing our argument, that’s where we go after,” said Bielat.
The campaign also said U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has a 10 percent advantage over Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren in the new 4th Congressional District, according to the internal poll.
But the internal poll indicated another sure way to beat Kennedy — get him to change his name.
“When you take Kennedy’s name out of the equation he falls short, so this idea that he’s running on something other than his name isn’t supported,” said Bielat, who pointed out that Kennedy has been saying he’s not running on his name.
Given a description of the candidates’ qualifications, 57 percent of those polled supported Bielat, while 29 supported Kennedy.
The UMass Lowell/Boston Herald poll, however, indicated that 56 percent of registered voters polled said the Kennedy name didn’t influence their vote.
John C. Berg, a political science professor at Suffolk University, said while the 20-point gain is impressive, Bielat still has an uphill climb.
“The one thing about Joe Kennedy is he’s known — he’s going to start out strong. Bielat should be able to make up some, but whether that means he can keep on doing that and get the majority is another question,” said Berg