to the Suffolk University poll. The previous Suffolk poll posted at RCP, which I copied
yesterday, was for November 4-8, and showed Brown 31 points behind.
Poll shocker: Scott Brown surges ahead in Senate race
January 15, 2010—Updated 40m ago
Riding a wave of opposition to Democratic health-care reform, GOP upstart Scott Brown is leading in the U.S. Senate race, raising the odds of a historic upset that would reverberate all the way to the White House, a new poll shows.
Although Brown’s 4-point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley is within the Suffolk University/7News survey’s margin of error, the underdog’s position at the top of the results stunned even pollster David Paleologos.
“It’s a Brown-out,” said Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center. “It’s a massive change in the political landscape.”
The poll shows Brown, a state senator from Wrentham, besting Coakley, the state’s attorney general, by 50 percent to 46 percent, the first major survey to show Brown in the lead. Unenrolled long-shot Joseph L. Kennedy, an information technology executive with no relation to the famous family, gets 3 percent of the vote. Only 1 percent of voters were undecided.
Paleologos said bellweather models show high numbers of independent voters turning out on election day, which benefits Brown, who has 65 percent of that bloc compared to Coakley’s 30 percent. Kennedy earns just 3 percent of the independent vote, and 1 percent are undecided.
Given the 4.4-point margin of error, the poll shows Coakley could win the race, Paleologos said. But if Brown’s momentum holds, he is poised to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy—and to halt health-care reform, the issue the late senator dubbed “the cause of my life.”
Yet even in the bluest state, it appears Kennedy’s quest for universal health care has fallen out of favor, with 51 percent of voters saying they oppose the “national near-universal health-care package” and 61 percent saying they believe the government cannot afford to pay for it.
The poll, conducted Monday through Wednesday, surveyed 500 registered likely voters who knew the date of Tuesday’s election. It shows Brown leading all regions of the state except Suffolk County.
“Either Brown’s momentum accelerates and his lead widens, or this becomes a wake-up call for Coakley to become the ‘Comeback Kid’ this weekend,” Paleologos said.
And with 99 percent having made up their minds, voters may be hard to persuade.
The poll surveyed a carefully partitioned electorate meant to match voter turnout: 39 percent Democrat, 15 percent Republican and 45 percent unenrolled.
Brown wins among men and is remarkably competitive among women—trailing Coakley’s 50 percent with 45 percent.
While Brown has 91 percent of registered Republicans locked up, an astonishing 17 percent of Democrats report they’re jumping ship for Brown as well—likely a product of Coakley’s laser-focus on hard-core Dems, potentially at the exclusion of other Democrats whom she needed to win over, Paleologos said.
For Coakley, Brown’s surge may be as ominous as the fact that her campaign’s peril is not fully recognized, with 64 percent of voters still believing she’ll win—a perception that threatens to keep her supporters home.
Brown’s popularity is solid. He enjoys a 57 percent favorability rating compared to just 19 percent unfavorable. Coakley’s favorability is 49 percent; her unfavorability, 41 percent.
No longer does Brown suffer from a name-recognition problem, with 95 percent of voters having heard of him statewide.
[end of article]