Submitted By Todd on January 18th at 9:21am
Republican Scott Brown leads Democrat Martha Coakley 51 percent to 46 percent with 4 percent undecided in a tight race to fill the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy that will be decided in a Tuesday special election, according to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted Jan. 16-17. The margin of error is 2.8 points and PPP says "other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify." The poll was conducted before President Obama's trip to Boston (Sunday) to try to energize Democrats behind Coakley who has seen a once-large lead either greatly reduced in some polls and wiped out in others.The endless barrage of negative ads has lifted Scott's unfavorables, but independents still love him, and he's still much better liked than Martha.
Brown is seen favorably by 56 percent of voters and unfavorably by 37 percent, with 7 percent undecided. Coakley is seen unfavorably by 51 percent and favorably by 44 percent with 6 percent undecided. Sixty-eight percent of independents see Brown favorably compared to 31 percent for Coakley. Brown has a big lead among independents and is poaching 19 percent of Democratic voters while Coakley attracts only 9 percent of Republicans.Martha's failure to campaign for weeks continues to hurt her.
Fifty-six percent said Brown made a strong argument for electing him to the Senate compared to 36 percent who thought he didn't, with 8 percent undecided. Fifty-one percent said they did not think Coakley made a strong argument for herself compared to 41 percent who felt she did, with 8 percent undecided. Sixty-seven percent of independents said Brown had made a strong argument and while only 29 percent said Coakley did.Democrats are surprisingly excited about the race, however, perhaps spurred by appearances from Clinton and Obama, and maybe they like the endless robocalls.
The poll found that 89 percent of Republicans were very excited about the race compared to 68 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats, something that could be a factor if the special election draws a low turnout. Democrats made up 39 percent of the sample in the poll, while independents accounted for 44 percent and Republicans for 17 percent. "Brown has a small advantage right now but special elections are unusually volatile and Martha Coakley is certainly still in this," said PPP's Dean Debnam. "She just needs to get more Democrats out to the polls."