Warren Takes Six-Point Lead in Massachusetts

Warren Takes Six-Point Lead in Massachusetts

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - October 24, 2012

A new poll shows Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren has opened up a six-point lead over Republican incumbent Scott Brown in the U.S. Senate race that could help determine which party controls the upper chamber.

Warren attracts 50 percent of the support from likely voters in a new WBUR survey released Wednesday. Brown garners 44 percent of the support, while 4 percent remain undecided. Warren’s lead falls outside the poll’s margin of error. It also signals a significant change in the race: Earlier this month, the survey showed Brown ahead by four points.

Warren now leads her opponent in the RCP Average by 4.7 percentage points.

Brown won his seat in a special 2010 election. In competing for a full term, he faces difficult challenges in a state that Obama is expected to win handily, and he needs to carry a significant portion of independent and Democratic voters. Brown pulls 14 percent of Democrats away from Warren in this poll, while 4 percent are undecided. Warren pulls 3 percent of Republicans. Brown holds a substantial lead among independents, 54 percent to 40 percent.

For Brown, the race rests on ticket splitting. Thus, a key factor is likeability, a quality that has been tested in a series of fiery debates and campaign advertisements. The two candidates earn equal favorability ratings, 49 percent each. Meanwhile, 39 percent find Warren unfavorable and 38 percent view Brown unfavorably. Brown’s score has decreased by five points since earlier this month.

Women appear to be buoying the Democrat’s lead: Warren has a sizable advantage over Brown among female voters, 54 percent to 40 percent. The Harvard law professor and former Obama administration official has been hitting Brown throughout the campaign on his votes regarding equal pay and access to contraception. Men are virtually split, 48 percent backing Brown and 46 percent supporting Warren.

MassINC Polling Group surveyed 516 likely Massachusetts voters from Oct. 21-22 for WBUR. The sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 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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