Democrat Elizabeth Warren has a 6-point lead over Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., in one of the marquee Senate races of the 2012 cycle, according to a new poll released Sunday. Warren's lead is not considered statistically significant because the poll, conducted by Western New England University in Springfield, Mass., has a relatively high margin of error.
Warren leads Brown among likely Bay State voters, 50 percent to 44 percent, technically within the poll's margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.6 percentage points. Six percent of likely voters are undecided.
The poll does show a significant gender gap: Brown leads among men by 5 points, 49 percent to 44 percent. But Warren posts a commanding, 15-point advantage among female voters, 55 percent to 40 percent.
Brown trails despite posting a 22-point lead among independent voters, who make up a plurality of the Massachusetts electorate, 57 percent to 35 percent. He fails, however, to attract Democratic support; Warren leads among Democrats, 89 percent to 6 percent.
The poll was conducted Sept. 6-13, beginning one night after Warren's nationally-televised speech to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. It also concluded just as the race took a more negative turn: Warren released her first television advertisement attacking Brown
on the final day of interviews, with Brown firing back with a negative ad of his own a day later.
The race's new tone could serve to erode the positive image ratings held of both candidates, according to the poll. Fifty-four percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Brown, and 53 percent view Warren favorably. And Brown's approval rating in the poll is 57 percent, with just 30 percent disapproving.
The poll surveyed 444 likely voters via landline and cellular telephone. The poll was conducted in partnership with The Republican
of Springfield, Mass.; results first appeared in the paper's Sunday editions.
The new survey was the first public, live-caller poll in the race since mid-July, when the MassINC Polling Group found Warren with a slim, 2-point lead. Boston-based Suffolk University, along with the Hub's NBC affiliate, WHDH-TV, is scheduled to release another poll of the Senate race on Monday night.