Warren Maintains Narrow Lead In Latest WBUR Senate Poll

Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren prepare for their first debate with moderator Jon Keller on Sept. 20 in Boston. (AP)

Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren prepare for their first debate with moderator Jon Keller on Sept. 20 in Boston. (AP)

BOSTON — The latest WBUR poll of 504 likely voters (PDFs – toplinecrosstabs) finds a still-tight race between Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, with Warren leading Brown by two points, 46 to 44 percent.

The survey, conducted Sept. 26-28 for WBUR by MassINC Polling Group, has a 4.4 percent margin of error.

The two candidates meet in their second debate Monday night in Lowell. The 40 percent polled who watched the first debate are split on who they feel won. Sixteen percent say Brown won, 14 percent say Warren did.

A National Race

One of the key factors playing in Warren’s favor is voters’ discomfort with the idea of Republicans taking control of the Senate. Only 29 percent of likely voters in our poll say they would prefer to see Republicans in control; 58 percent say they would prefer to see Democrats continue to run the Senate.

Click for the poll’s topline results (PDF).

Click for the poll’s topline results (PDF).

Dennis Baker, of Shrewsbury, a former Democratic state representative, is one of them. He was among the 1,300 people who braved the rain to take part in the Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk at Castle Island on Sunday. After, he took refuge under the porch at Sullivan’s, his eyeglasses streaked with rain drops. Baker is one of those famous “Reagan Democrats.” But he’s with Warren now.

“And I think the major issue she’s got going for her is we can’t let the Republicans take over the Senate,” Baker said. “That’s critical, because I think the Republican Party has moved way far to the right, and I think it would be dangerous to have them in the Senate.”

In WBUR’s last Senate poll, more people believed Warren would “stand up for regular people when in the Senate.” Forty-three percent of likely voters said that, compared to 39 percent in the latest poll. And Brown has seen a big jump among people who see him that way. Thirty-five percent of likely voters now consider Brown the candidate most likely to stand up for regular people, compared to 29 percent in WBUR’s last poll.

Michael Federici of Medway, snacking and sipping coffee under the roof outside Sullivan’s, is among them.

“I think he’s true to what he stands for and the stuff he’s fought for,” Federici said. “And I don’t think he’s made a big deal about the middle class, like the Democrats are trying to pin everything on the millionaires, like they’re the problem. And all of a sudden every Democrat is for the middle class, yet half of them don’t even live in the middle class, so to me, it’s kinda bull.”

Personality Vs. Issues

More people agree with Warren on the key issues that matter to them than they do with Brown (45 to 39 percent), and more voters still believe Warren is the best candidate to stand up for women in the Senate (47 to 25 percent). But Brown continues to be the candidate people like more; 52 percent said they hold a favorable opinion of him.

Forty-seven percent of likely voters hold a favorable opinion of Warren. People like Gail Dubois from Pepperell.

“I think she’s honest,” Dubois said. “I think she’s a fresh face. I think she’ll do well by us.”

Among the qualities people see in Brown is his willingness to compromise with Democrats. Three percent of voters say he compromises with Democrats too often, 34 percent say not often enough, and 48 percent say he compromises just about the right amount. That’s why Holden resident Jim Wells likes Brown.

“I think we got too many people in the House and Senate right now that vote strictly straight-line party,” Wells said. “I think Warren will vote straight-line Democrat. I think we need more people that can see both sides and vote against their party sometimes.”

While Massachusetts voters pride themselves on splitting their vote, more likely voters see the prospect of sending an all-Democratic delegation to Washington as a “positive development” — 48 percent compared to the 38 percent who say al all-Democratic delegation would be a “negative development.”

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  • JohnnyBeagle

    Comments that Elizabeth Warren cannot represent the middle class because she is not in the middle class are as valid as saying that Scott Brown cannot represent women because he is a man.  Rather than focus on the physical attributes, personal bank accounts, or family histories of each candidate,  voters would be advised to examine their actual voting record in the case of Brown and academic/government record in the case of Warren.  

    Upon doing so, it is crystal clear that Elizabeth Warren is squarely behind the middle class and Senator Brown is not. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QUAYWERJ5BUI4QFICNDDVVZWD4 DefendOurConstitution

       Brown is squarely behind the Norquist pledge.  Shouldn’t that count for something?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_S65RBEEMYRFYVMJZMRRADQMMAI gardenia

    Scott Brown is very “cute” and do not forget he used to be a nude, posing, male model.  Is that his best qualification for the job of Senator of the USA?  Elizabeth Warren is not only highly educated but highly sensible and knows a lot more about America than Scott Brown would in 100 years.  Do not think he would compromise much of anything.  He votes a straight party ticket almost all of the time.  Send him out in his cute pick up truck.

    • GCRE

      C’mon Gardenia…Can’t we move beyond talking about a candidate’s looks?  (I bet you’d be the first person offended if someone described Warren as old and shrewish.)  They’re both attractive and intelligent candidates.  The question is whether you want a moderate or an another extremist in Washington.  

      • JohnnyBeagle

        Indeed.  Does anyone want the sort of person in Washington who would sign Grover Norquist’s extremist pledge?  Mr. Norquist wants to “shrink government so small that he can drown it in a bath tub”.   Senator Brown signed onto that pledge and is a strong ally with extremist Norquist.  Does anyone want the sort of person in Washington who would allow the employer to dictate the health care coverage of an employe based simply on the personal likes and dislikes of the employer?  This is the sort of extremist bills that Senator Brown introduced in the senate.   

        Elizabeth Warren is only extreme in her focus on policy and provisions that protect the middle class.  I can live with that.

        • GCRE

          Your Norquist point is a great one.  I HATE that so many Republicans have caved to this guy.  Unfortunately, our ridiculous deficit spending has led to this type of reactionary behavior.  

          But I totally disagree on your “health care” point.  Why should the Catholic Church be forced to pay for someone’s abortion or contraception?   

          • Sinclair2

            The Catholic Church is an employer and is subject to employment laws just like any other employer.  A Catholic employee could easily choose not to accept the birth control benefits of health insurance.  One would assume it’s their right, but this is where the church doesn’t see it as their right.  However, the Catholic Church is afraid that Catholics will accept the birth control benefits.  Oh my-my!

            Catholics are not allowed to make these personal life decisions.

          • JohnnyBeagle

             For the same reason that a Jehovah’s Witness should not be allowed to deny my child an operation that requires a blood transfusion.   If the Catholic Church wants to go into business and hire people, the law ought to apply to them just as it applies to all.   No one is forcing the Catholic Church to enter into the business world, but if they so choose, the laws of that world apply. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QUAYWERJ5BUI4QFICNDDVVZWD4 DefendOurConstitution

    Who would have
    thought that the Massachusetts Senate race this year hinges on Missouri as much
    as it does?  The (MO Senator) Blunt Amendment coupled with (MO Senate
    candidate) Todd “legitimate rape” Akin has probably hurt Brown at the
    polls more than anything Warren’s campaign could do.  Make no mistake; the
    War on Women has hurt Brown tremendously.  Brown will likely lose among
    women in MA by 12-15% and that means he would have to win among men by
    something like 20%.  Brown walloped Coakley by 19% among men and yet his
    net win was less than 5%, even with Coakley only beating Brown among women by
    7%.  All of the recent polling, except the Herald’s, shows Brown’s
    advantage among men in the single digits and Warren’s advantage among women in
    the comfortable double digits (this latest WBUR poll has Warren beating Brown
    by 9% among women and Brown beating Warren by 8% among men, but when you look
    at the leaners – undecided pressed to make a choice – the numbers look awful
    for Brown as his total advantage among men goes down to 6% and Warren’s
    advantage among women increases to 14%).  Amazing how Missouri is playing
    such a role in our great State!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QUAYWERJ5BUI4QFICNDDVVZWD4 DefendOurConstitution

    No wonder the Brown campaign is panicking, Brown walloped Coakley among men by 19%, Coakley beat Brown among women by a mere 7%, and still Brown beat Coakley by a total of less than 5%. The gender distribution shown in just about all the recent polling is very worrisome for Brown – for example this most recent WBUR poll has Brown ahead among men by 8% and Warren ahead among women by 9% (not bad for Brown, but not enough to win, and when you look at the leaners – undecided pressed to make a choice – the numbers look awful for Brown as his total advantage among men goes down to 6% and Warren’s advantage among women increases to 14%), and there is no way that Brown can win is he loses the women’s vote by so much and can only beat Warren among men by such a small margin.   When it was just one or two polls showing Brown’s trouble with women they could ignore it, but now they are very aware of how much the War on Women has cost Brown, so I wonder what a desperate Senator Brown does tonight in the debate: attack in a nasty personal way and lose the undecided voters, or try to look senatorial, not attack and risk losing the enthusiasm of the Republicans that are already demoralized by their presidential candidate so that they will just stay home.

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