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Elizabeth Warren proves that economic populism is good politics, by @DavidOAtkins

Elizabeth Warren proves that economic populism is good politics

by David Atkins

Elizabeth Warren's approval ratings are looking extremely good:

According to a poll conducted by the Western New England University Polling Institute through a partnership with The Republican/MassLive.com and CBS-3 Springfield, 49 percent of voters approve of the job she is doing in Washington while 26 percent say they disapprove.

But while she remains popular with Democrats and moderately popular with independent voters, some of whom helped elect her over Republican Scott Brown in November, GOP voters are still not sold on the former Harvard Law School professor.

Democratic voters overwhelmingly approve of Warren's performance, with 76 percent of those surveyed giving her a positive reviews compared to the 7 percent who disapproved. Independent voters were split, with 42 percent saying they approve and 31 percent saying they do not.

But when it comes to support from across the aisle, only 16 percent of Republicans say they approve of her performance, with 55 percent saying they disapprove.

So Elizabeth Warren is pleasing Democrats and independents through her outspoken economic populism, while marginalizing herself among Republicans. The end result is that her approval rating is double her disapproval.

Other Democrats can pull off the same trick. Other states are often more conservative than Massachusetts, of course, but it's not independents in Montana are any friendlier to hedge fund manager and other Wall St. types than independents on the eastern seaboard.

Elizabeth Warren is not just supporting good policy. She's channeling what Americans really feel. That's not just good policy; it's good politics. Unless you're a Democrat representing a majority Republican district, there's no reason not to do likewise. Any Democrat in a blue state or district falling short of the Elizabeth Warren standard is doing so because they want to, not because they have to.