WASHINGTON — Elizabeth Warren's chances of becoming a U.S. senator have risen dramatically since her primetime speech to the Democratic National Convention two weeks ago.
While Warren has been slightly trailing Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., for much of her campaign, four recent polls now show her now in the lead.
That is likely to dismay many bankers, who view the Senate race as one of the most critical this year because of Warren's principal role in creating and setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Friends of Traditional Banking, a new SuperPAC set up by several state banking groups, announced last week that it would direct funds to help Brown.
But the industry's fight to defeat Warren may be even tougher than it realizes.
Jaret Seiberg, a financial services policy analyst with Guggenheim Securities, said Warren is likely to gain from Massachusetts voters that turn out to vote for President Obama.
"Warren is looking unbeatable," Seiberg said. "Obama will easily win Massachusetts. So Brown needs a big lead just to offset the party-line voting. Because of this, Warren's advantage is even more than the polls indicate."
While Warren's speech at the convention angered some bankers, there is little doubt it helped galvanize her campaign. During the speech, she reminded voters of her role in creating the politically popular CFPB while blasting megabanks.
"Wall Street CEOs — the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs — still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them. Does anyone here have a problem with that?" Warren said.
Since that time, speculation has grown that if Warren wins the Senate seat, she may be a contender in the 2016 presidential race.
Warren and Brown are scheduled to have their first debate on Thursday evening.