A new survey of Massachusetts from Public Policy Polling (D) has a stunning result — with Republican Sen. Scott Brown narrowly trailing former White House financial reform adviser Elizabeth Warren, who officially launched her campaign last week and has been enjoying a round of positive press coverage.
The numbers: Warren 46%, Brown 44%. In the previous PPP numbers from June, Brown led the lesser-known Warren by 47%-32%.
The survey of registered voters was conducted from September 16-18, and has a ±3.5% margin of error.
Other Democrats who remain less well known continue to trail Brown, with the incumbent leading Tom Conroy by 50%-31%, leading Alan Khazei by 48%-33%, leading Bob Massie by 49%-31%, and leading Setti Warren by 47%-32%.
The poll also gives Brown an approval rating of just 44%, and a disapproval of 45%, compared to 48%-36% in the June poll. Warren’s personal rating is 40% favorable to 22% unfavorable, up from 21%-17% in the June poll.
In a positive sign for Brown, the poll asked: “Do you think Scott Brown has been more an independent voice for Massachusetts or a partisan voice for the national Republican Party?” The answer was 47% independent voice, to 41% partisan Republican voice.
PPP’s Tom Jensen writes: “This poll was taken over the weekend right after a week of positive press surrounding Warren’s candidacy announcement. It’s possible that gave her a bounce that may recede some in the coming weeks. But that doesn’t change Brown’s falling approval numbers- this looks like it will be a highly competitive race.”
Brown was elected to the Senate in a special election in January 2010, following the death of long-time Sen. Ted Kennedy, in a stunning upset against Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley. Brown has exhibited strong skills as a campaigner, but a major challenge for him going into 2012 is that he is nevertheless a Republican senator in a deep-blue state that is expected to vote Democratic by a wide margin in the presidential race.