Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren (53 percent) has widened her lead over incumbent Republican Scott Brown (46 percent), according to a Suffolk University/7News (WHDH-Boston) poll of likely general election voters in Massachusetts. Just over 1 percent were still undecided. In a September Suffolk University/7News poll, Warren led Brown 48 percent to 44 percent, with 8 percent undecided.

“Elizabeth Warren is riding a final wave of momentum to the U.S. Senate,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Unless something drastically changes in the final days before the election, you will be hearing the title ‘Senator-elect’ Warren instead of ‘Professor’ Warren.”

Favorability in U.S. Senate race

Warren is now seen as more popular, with 51 percent indicating a favorable rating and just 36 percent viewing her unfavorably. Brown struggled to maintain a positive rating with 45 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable.

When voters were asked to compare Warren and Brown, Warren was seen as the candidate who better represents the interests of the middle class (51 percent to 36 percent), better represents the interests of Massachusetts (48 percent to 38 percent), and is running the better campaign (43 percent to 32 percent). Brown was seen as the candidate who would be a more independent U.S. Senator (46 percent to 41 percent).

“There is a difference between being an independent voice and being the voice of independents,” Paleologos said. “Brown still leads Warren among unenrolled voters, but the margin has dropped below the 60 percent threshold, especially among women who are independents and in urban areas.”

Brown led Warren 54 percent to 43 percent among all Independents, a drop from the September poll when he led Warren 55 percent to 34 percent. Among women independents in the most recent poll, Brown leads just 50 percent to 47 percent, compared to a 49 percent to 36 percent advantage in September. Brown leads 60 percent to 39 percent among independent men in the October poll.

Presidential race

The race in Massachusetts for president continues to be a lopsided affair, with nearly identical numbers from the September poll. President Barack Obama (63 percent) led former Governor Mitt Romney (31 percent) by 32 points among likely voters choosing a candidate of the four presidential contenders listed on the Massachusetts ballot. Local resident and Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson each received 1 percent, with just 3 percent undecided.

Ballot questions

Two of the three ballot questions look like they are on the road to approval with one question losing ground rapidly.

Seventy-four percent of likely voters supported the Availability of Motor Vehicle Repair Information Proposed Law which would require auto manufacturers to allow auto owners and independent repair shops to have access to the same vehicle diagnostic and repair information made available to auto dealers and authorized repair facilities. Yes support for this question has dropped only five points since September.

However, the proposed Prescribing Medication to End Life law, which would allow Massachusetts licensed physicians to prescribe life-ending medication, at the request of terminally ill patients meeting certain conditions, is losing backing with only 47 percent supporting the measure while 41 percent oppose it. The meager six point advantage currently contrasts sharply with the 37 point advantage the question had just six weeks ago when 64 percent supported it.

And although yes support has dropped four points, 55 percent support the proposed Medical Use of Marijuana Law, while 36 percent were opposed. This is consistent with the September findings.

Likely voters of all political parties prefer having one Democratic and one Republican senator in Washington. Fifty percent said there is a benefit to having a member of each party representing Massachusetts in Washington, D.C., while 40 percent responded no.

On Jan. 14, 2010, Suffolk University was the first poll using live interviewers to show Republican Scott Brown leading Democrat Martha Coakley - by 4 points. Five days later, Brown won by 5 points on Election Day.

Methodology

The statewide survey of 600 likely Massachusetts general election voters was conducted Oct. 25-28, 2012, using live telephone interviews of landline and cell phone users. All fieldwork was completed before the storm. The margin of error is +/-4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and cross-tabulation data are available on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.