GOP Sen. Scott Brown is well-positioned heading into a potential Massachusetts special election next year, according to a new WBUR-FM poll, with high favorability ratings and advantages in hypothetical matchups with every Democrat tested in the survey.
The poll, conducted by MassINC Polling Group, tests the following Democrats in a primary and in matchups against Brown: Attorney General Martha Coakley, Gov. Deval Patrick, former Rep. Marty Meehan, and Reps. Ed Markey, Mike Capuano, and Steve Lynch. Patrick and Meehan have said they're not interested in running, and Coakley is thought to be more interested in a gubernatorial bid. The three congressmen are considering running.
But the poll shows the candidates least likely to run have more support, likely due in part to their name identification from being elected statewide. Patrick has the most support in a primary: 36 percent support him, while 21 percent say they'd support Coakley. Other candidates had support in the single digits. Patrick also held up best against Brown in a general election matchup, trailing the senator 47 percent to 40 percent. Coakley was next, lagging 51 percent to 36 percent.
The poll also shows Brown dominating a GOP primary with 2010 gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker and former Gov. William Weld -- though Baker seems to have his eye on another gubernatorial run and Weld has said he would support Brown in a Senate run -- with Brown taking 81 percent support.
Brown has a 58 percent favorability rating, though he just went through (and lost) a nasty race with Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren. Just 28 percent of respondents see the senator unfavorably. Of the candidates tested, just Patrick had higher favorability, at 60 percent (they even tested Warren, who came in at 54 percent favorability). Coakley has 48 percent favorability, while significant numbers of respondents had never heard of or were undecided about the remainder of the names.
The WBUR poll surveyed 500 registered voters from December 17 - 18. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.4 percentage points.