Private Poll Gives Warren Edge Over Brown
Elizabeth Warren leads Sen. Scott Brown, 48 percent to 44 percent among likely voters, in a private Massachusetts Senate poll of likely voters conducted for a Boston-based consulting and research firm. Her advantage is within the survey's margin of error.
The same poll showed Brown leading Warren by 10 percentage points in January and by 14 in April.
Fifty-two percent of registered voters, part of a larger sample size in the same poll, thought it was more important to send a Democrat to the Senate "to help ensure that it doesn't fall under the control of Republicans" than it was to have a moderate Republican senator. Forty percent chose the latter option.
That dynamic points to Brown's struggles when he is viewed as adjacent to the national Republican Party, which is deeply unpopular in Massachusetts. Among the broader sample, which includes adults not registered to vote, Brown enjoys 55 percent favorability and 36 percent unfavorability, but is hamstrung by his GOP colleagues, from whom he has worked to distance himself. Warren is viewed favorably by 51 percent, unfavorably by 39 percent.
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who governed the state from 2003 to 2007, is less popular. Fully 60 percent hold negative opinions of him, just 36 percent positive ones. President Obama has a 62 percent/35 percent favorable/unfavorable split.
Warren's campaign has long resisted nationalizing the race, preferring to match Warren's biography, as a mother who went to law school and became a Harvard Law professor and architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, against Brown's. A lifelong Bay Stater, Brown is also an attorney and is a colonel in the National Guard, and frequently campaigns with his wife and two daughters.
Brown appears unable so far to shake the Republican label. He was among the first Republicans to criticize Missouri Republican congressman and Senate candidate Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments. He touts multiple publications' ratings of him as among the most bipartisan members of Congress, and plays up endorsements from local Democrats. But when pressed in a debate Monday night to name a model Supreme Court justice, his initial answer was Justice Antonin Scalia, a prominent member of the Court's conservative bloc.
Conducted by Waltham, Mass.-based Opinion Dynamics for Mass Insight Global Partnerships, the poll falls in line with other recent surveys. A WBUR/MassInc poll released Monday pegged the race at 49 percent for Warren and 45 percent for Brown.
The poll of 450 adults was conducted Sept. 25 to Sept. 30 and carries a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.6 percentage points. That includes 329 likely voters for the horserace question, at a margin of error of plus-or-minus 5.4 percentage points.