The race to replace Ted Kennedy in the US Senate is looking like a toss up, with Republican Scott Brown up 48-47 on Martha Coakley.
Brown is benefiting from depressed Democratic interest in the election and a huge lead among independents for his surprisingly strong standing. Those planning to vote in the special election only report having voted for Barack Obama in 2008 by a 16 point margin, in contrast to his actual 26 point victory in the state.
That decline in turnout from Obama voters plagued Democratic candidates for Governor in Virginia and New Jersey last fall. Beyond that 66% of Republicans say they’re ‘very excited’ about turning out while only 48% of Democrats express that sentiment.
Brown leads 63-31 with independents and is winning 17% of the Democratic vote while Coakley receives only 6% support from GOP voters. Both candidates are relatively popular, with 57% viewing Brown favorably to only 25% unfavorable and 50% with a positive opinion of Coakley to 42% negative.
Those folks planning to vote in the special election are actually opposed to Obama’s health care plan by a 47/41 margin and only narrowly express approval of the President’s overall job performance 44/43.
“The Massachusetts Senate race is shaping up as a potential disaster for Democrats,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Martha Coakley’s complacent campaign has put Scott Brown in a surprisingly strong position and she will need to step it up in the final week to win a victory once thought inevitable.”
PPP surveyed 744 likely Massachusetts voters from January 7th to 9th. The margin of error is +/-3.6%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.I've donated. Have you?