Aligning with the right on social issues has rarely proved a winning formula in Massachusetts. Brown's win was fueled by his Joe Six-Pack image and opposition to the federal health care law, and aided by a weak opponent in state Attorney General Martha Coakley. Mitt Romney, elected governor there in 2002, ran as a social moderate, opposing changes to abortion policies and currying support among gay activists. In the 2010 gubernatorial election there, Republican nominee Charles Baker was tied into knots over opposition to transgender rights legislation that critics said would allow men access to women's bathrooms.
Sixty percent of all voters said there was a benefit to have a split Senate delegation, the way Massachusetts, with Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the other chair, does now.
Brown also enjoys a strong split in the way he's viewed: 52 percent of all voters see him favorably, 28 percent unfavorably. Warren's margin on that scale is smaller: 35 percent see her favorably, 28 percent unfavorably. Twenty-four percent have never heard of her or are undecided about her.
Forty-five percent of all voters have never heard of her.
WBUR-FM/MassInc poll released on Tuesday gave Warren a three-point edge. A UMass Lowell-Boston Herald survey in early December put Warren up nine. The Suffolk and Herald polls were of registered voters, but the MassInc poll was of likely voters.
Conducted Feb. 11 through Feb. 15 among 600 registered voters, the Suffolk poll carries a plus/minus 4 percent error margin.