Poll: Dead Heat In Mass. U.S. Senate Contest

A new poll shows the race between incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and chief Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren is a virtual dead heat.

The Suffolk University and WHDH-TV poll released Wednesday also indicates that lingering questions about Warren's claims of Native American ancestry isn't seen as a major issue for most voters.

The poll of 600 likely Massachusetts general election voters found 48 percent back Brown and 47 percent support Warren. That's well within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

The poll found that while 72 percent of voters were aware of questions surrounding Warren's heritage, 69 percent said they didn't feel it was a significant story and 49 percent said Warren was telling the truth about being part Native American.

Warren has said her claims of Native American heritage were part of "family lore," but her campaign has been unable to offer any direct proof.

The Brown campaign has pushed the issue, accusing Warren of using the claim to gain an unfair advantage in hiring.

The Warren campaign has offered quotes from officials at the law schools where she worked saying they were either unaware of the claims or they had no influence on their hiring decision.

The May 20-22 poll also indicates that Warren's criticism that Brown is a Wall Street favorite doesn't have traction with voters.

When likely voters were asked if a vote for Scott Brown is a vote for Wall Street, 55 percent disagreed and 33 percent agreed.

Voters were more evenly split on whether Brown should return $50,000 dollars his campaign received from JPMorgan Chase employees, with 43 percent saying he should not return the money and 42 percent saying he should.

Overall, Brown remains more popular with 58 percent of voters saying they have a favorable view of him compared to 43 percent for Warren.

"To win a second term, Brown will have to make the case for why he deserves to be reelected rather than suggesting that Warren is not fit to be the U.S. senator," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

The poll also showed there is little contest in the presidential race in Massachusetts, with President Barack Obama leading former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney 59 percent to 34 percent.

This program aired on May 24, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


More from WBUR

Listen Live