With almost a year until the Massachusetts Senate election, this UMass Lowell/Boston Herald poll is hardly a reliable predictor of the outcome. But the trend it shows is troubling for Republicans: Elizabeth Warren has gained 10 points in just the last two months. Sen. Scott Brown, a moderate, has already broken with Republicans on several occasions, and the added vulnerability could make him more likely to side with Democrats on contentious issues:
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.
Of course, Republicans can’t afford to lose Brown in the Senate, for both symbolic and practical reasons. But they may end up effectively losing him on certain issues if he’s forced to tack further to the left in the lead-up to the election.
According to the poll, the attack ads against both campaigns have had their desired effect. Brown’s negatives have increased, but so have Warren’s. A silver lining in the poll for Brown is that the Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be increasingly unpopular in the state. Just 26 percent support the movement, while 34 percent oppose it. Warren has aligned herself so closely with OWS that it will certainly hurt her if that trend continues.