You know what’s really great about these poll results? Public Policy Polling asked how voters reacted to Elizabeth Warren being labeled as a “Harvard professor,” and most independents and Democrats reacted favorably. Ha, ha! A set of polls earlier this month showed Brown with a seven-point lead, but it looks like that’s no longer a problem:
PPP’s newest Massachusetts poll finds Elizabeth Warren leading Scott Brown 46-41.
Brown is not proving to be an overwhelmingly popular Senator. 45% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 42% who disapprove. That’s actually up a little bit from a 44/45 spread on our last poll in September. Republicans love him, giving him an 80/7 approval spread. But his appeal to Democrats and independents is not what it once was. At the end of his first year in office Brown was nearly running even with Democrats, with 35% approving of him to 41% who disapproved. Now he’s at 23/63 across party lines. And although he remains popular with independents at 53/34, it’s not the 61/25 rating he enjoyed with them at the end of 2010.
In the head to head with Warren, Brown has the GOP base completely locked up 89-3. And the 17% of Democrats he’s winning is comparable to the 19% we found him getting against Martha Coakley in 2010. But he’s only up 48-36 with independents, a far cry from his 64-32 advantage with them against Coakley, and that’s the main reason he trails by this narrow margin.
Warren is reclaiming the middle from Brown. We find her up 42-40 with moderate voters, a group that we found Brown leading Coakley 55-41 with. She’s also inspiring a lot of enthusiasm from young people. 56% rate her favorably to 27% with an unfavorable view, and she leads Brown 56-29 with them.
Warren’s name recognition is up to 79%, from 62% when we last polled the state in September. Her negatives are actually rising faster than her favorability number. She’s gone from a a 40/22 spread to 46/33. Democrats (66/15) are pretty enthusiastic about her but she’s not showing much crossover appeal, registering at 13/69 with Republicans. Independents are pretty evenly divided with 39% rating her favorably and 38% unfavorably.
Voters are more comfortable with Warren ideologically than they are with Brown. 51% say that her views are ‘about right,’ compared to 44% for the incumbent. She’s probably also benefiting from the fact that 54% of Massachusetts voters think the Republican Party is too conservative, compared to only 41% who think the Democratic Party is too liberal. Although only 35% of voters think Brown himself is too conservative, the bad image of his national party has to be rubbing off on him at least some.