Polls Show Warren Leading Brown in Massachusetts

Polls Show Warren Leading Brown in Massachusetts

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - September 17, 2012

U.S. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren has pulled ahead of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, according to a pair of new polls.

A Western New England University Polling Institute survey shows the Harvard law professor and former Obama administration official leading the incumbent by six points among likely Bay State voters, attracting 50 percent of the support. Among registered voters, Warren’s lead widens to 53 percent to 41 percent.

Brown’s success on Election Day depends on attracting independent voters, who make up a sizable portion of the electorate, and moderate Democrats. According to the poll, he pulls just 6 percent of Democrats away from Warren, who garners 89 percent of the support from her party members. But Brown leads among independent voters by 22 points.

Warren leads among women, 55 percent to 40 percent. Brown leads among men, 49 percent to 44 percent.

Both candidates attract positive favorability ratings among likely voters, with over 50 percent viewing them favorably and a little over 30 percent viewing them unfavorably.

Meanwhile, a Public Policy Polling (D) survey finds a closer race, with Warren edging Brown by two points and attracting 48 percent of the support. In August the poll found Brown ahead by five points, meaning Warren picked up seven points in a month. Her lead is bolstered by increased support among Democrats. She leads Brown among her party members, 81 percent to 13 percent. Last month, she led by 73 percent to 20 percent among that group. Brown again holds a strong lead among independents, attracting 56 percent of their support to Warren’s 35 percent.

Brown’s approval ratings have improved slightly over the past month, with 55 percent approving and 34 percent disapproving, compared to a 53-36 split in the previous survey. Warren’s standing has improved also: 51 percent have a favorable view of her while 43 percent hold an unfavorable view; last month, that ratio was 46 percent to 43 percent.

The poll finds that while voters may like Brown, a majority of them want Democrats to control the U.S. Senate. The Massachusetts race likely will be pivotal in determining which party gains a majority in the upper chamber.

Both polls were taken after the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, where Warren delivered a prime-time address, so the surveys may represent a convention bump for the Democratic candidate. The two contenders will go head to head Thursday in their first televised debate.

The Western New England University Polling Institute surveyed 545 registered voters, including 444 likely voters, from Sept. 6-13. The margin of error for registered voters is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points, while the sampling error for likely voters is plus or minus 4.6 points.

PPP surveyed 876 likely voters from Sept. 13-16. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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