Republican Scott Brown (49 percent) has a 9-point lead over Democrat Elizabeth Warren (40 percent), according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS (WHDH-Boston) poll of likely general election voters in Massachusetts. Nine percent were undecided, and 2 percent would choose someone else.
Brown also showed significant leads over two other potential Democratic candidates, besting Marisa DeFranco 55 percent to 22 percent and Jim King 57 percent to 21 percent.
“Scott Brown’s popularity and appeal are overpowering the efforts of Elizabeth Warren, who struggles to introduce herself to the larger pool of Massachusetts voters,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Warren’s support does not have traction among independents.”
The poll found that Warren led 69 percent to 19 percent among Democrats, but trailed 86 percent to 7 percent among Republicans and 60 percent to 28 percent among independents.
Nearly 52 percent of all registered voters in Massachusetts are independents.
In the popularity contest, Brown recorded a 52 percent favorable rating and a 28 percent unfavorable rating, compared to Warren’s 35 percent favorable and 28 percent unfavorable rating.
General election voters said they favor having one Democratic and one Republican senator from Massachusetts in Washington, with 60 percent saying they see a benefit to having a member of each party representing them in the Senate and 36 percent saying they do not.
Among independents, 64 percent said there is a benefit to split party representation, while 30 percent disagreed. Among registered Democrats 49 percent agreed, and 47 percent disagreed.
Forty percent of voters said that Elizabeth Warren has the experience to be a U.S. Senator, while 32 percent disagreed. And 43 percent said Scott Brown is a leader in the Senate, but 38 percent said he is a follower.
Among likely Democratic voters in the September primary, Warren is poised to crush her Democratic opponents. More than 72 percent of likely Democratic voters said they would vote for Warren, 5 percent for Marisa DeFranco, and 1 percent for Jim King, with 20 percent undecided.
“Warren has great numbers to build upon within the likely Democratic voter base,” said Paleologos. “Now, she must broaden her appeal to independent voters in the state who do not know her well, if at all. If she fails to do this, the election could be a repeat of Brown-Coakley.”
The poll also took a look at voters’ perspectives on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose favorability was 71 percent in Massachusetts – 17 points higher than President Barack Obama’s 54 percent favorable rating. Clinton had a 19 percent unfavorable rating among likely voters in the general election. Among independents, Clinton had a 66 percent favorable and 20 percent unfavorable rating.
Suffolk University will be releasing the second part of the Massachusetts statewide poll of general election voters, which will include presidential matchups between Barack Obama and each of the remaining four Republican candidates, the Massachusetts Republican primary contest, and issues testing on health care, taxes and SuperPACs.
On January 14, 2010, Suffolk University was the first poll using live interviewers to show Republican Scott Brown leading Democrat Martha Coakley – by 4 points. Brown won by 5 points on Election Day, five days later.
The statewide survey of 600 Massachusetts registered voters was conducted Feb. 11-15, 2012, using live telephone interviews of landline and cell phone users. The margin of error is +/-4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and cross-tabulation data for the U.S. Senate race will be posted at 11 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website, and data for all questions will be posted there at 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.