If Republicans want to win control of the U.S. Senate in 2012, incumbent GOPer Scott Brown will likely need to hold control of his U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. Early polling indicates that the battle for the Bay State could be a difficult affair for Brown. Joe Battenfeld at the Boston Herald has more:
Democrat Elizabeth Warren has opened up a lead against Republican incumbent Scott Brown for the first time in their U.S. Senate showdown, but a barrage of attack ads appears to have damaged Warren and Brown’s standing among Massachusetts voters, a new University of Massachusetts at Lowell/Boston Herald poll shows.
Warren leads Brown by a 49-42 percent margin, outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 5.3 percentage points. That number includes voters who say they are “leaning” for either candidate. But even without the “leaners,” Warren still leads by a 46-41 percent margin, barely within the margin of error.
The poll of 505 registered Massachusetts voters was conducted for UMass-Lowell by Princeton Survey Research from Dec. 1 – Dec. 6, and shows Warren with her largest lead yet in the campaign. A UMass-Lowell/Boston Herald poll taken in late September showed Brown ahead by a 41-38 percent margin, so the new poll represents a 10-point swing in Warren’s favor in less than two months.
Brown still leads Warren among independent voters by a wide margin, 53-37 percent, according to the poll. But because there are so few Republicans in Massachusetts, Brown is far short of the support from independents he needs to be competitive in the 2012 election, according to most analysts.
But Warren right now appears to be winning the battle of campaign messages, according to Mokrzycki. Asked who would do a better job of looking out for middle class families, 43 percent of voters cite Warren and 33 percent identify Brown. Nearly half of Massachusetts voters also say Warren would do a better job of regulating Wall Street institutions. And more than a third of Massachusetts voters say they are less likely to back Brown because of campaign donations from Wall Street, a main theme of the Democratic attack against the incumbent.