January 15th, 2010
11:50 AM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Too close to call in Massachusetts senate race

Tuesday's special senate election in Massachusetts between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown is deadlocked, according to a new poll.
Tuesday's special senate election in Massachusetts between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown is deadlocked, according to a new poll.

(CNN) –  Tuesday's special senate election in Massachusetts between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown is deadlocked, according to a new poll.

The race is a battle to fill out the final three years of the term of the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, but also at stake is the Democrat's supermajority in the Senate, and possibly the fate of the party's and President Barack Obama's drive for health care reform.

A Suffolk University/7 News poll released Thursday night indicates that 50 percent of likely votes back Brown, a state senator, with 46 percent supporting Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general. Brown's 4 point lead is within the survey's sampling error. Three percent of people questioned back Joseph Kennedy, a third party candidate who is not related to the late senator.

"It's a massive change in the political landscape," says David Paleologos, director of Suffolk's Political Research Center.

A Boston Globe poll released last weekend indicated Coakley had a 15 point lead over Brown, but other recent surveys, including several partisan polls, suggested the race was much closer. Thursday afternoon two well respected non-partisan national political analysts, Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg, rated the race a toss up.

According to the Suffolk University survey, Brown is grabbing 65 percent of independent voters, with just 3 in 10 pulling for Coakley. And 17 percent of Democrats questioned say they're supporting Brown.

Democrats dominate most elections in Massachusetts, and no Bay State Republican has won an election to the U.S.Senate since 1972. But If Brown pulls an upset and defeats Coakley, the Democrats will lose their 60 seat filibuster-proof coalition in the Senate, which could severely threaten the party's chances of passing a health care reform bill in Congress and handing it to President Barack Obama to sign into law. Brown says he would vote against the bill. Health care reform was an issue that the late Sen. Kennedy championed.

Health care reform was an issue that the late Sen. Kennedy championed. The 77-year-old senator died of brain cancer in August. Democrat Paul Kirk, a long time adviser and friend to Kennedy, is serving as his interim replacement and does support the health care bill. The Massachusetts' Democratic secretary of state said this week that certifying Tuesday's election results could take more than two weeks, which could give Congressional Democrats time to pass a health care bill. Republicans are blasting any such delay.

The poll indicates that 51 percent of voters oppose the health care reform legislation, with more than 6 in 10 saying they believe the government can't afford to pay for it.

The Suffolk University survey was conducted Monday through Wednesday, with 500 people likely to vote in the January 19 special election questioned by telephone. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Both campaigns have raised large sums of cash in the past week and combined have spent well over a $1 million on television commercials. National party organizations as well as Independent groups have also flooded the airwaves in Massachusetts.

Friday two well known out of state surrogates are teaming up with the candidates. Former President Bill Clinton holds rallies in Boston and Worcester for Coakley and former New York City Mayor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani teams up with Brown.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Martha Coakley • Scott Brown • Uncategorized
soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. Mass Resident

    As an independent voter in Mass I can tell you I have never seen such an anticipated election in my life. Coakley has fought for the last year to win the democratic nomination and during that time wore thin on voters. In steps Brown with a fresh message and now he is the in-vogue candidate.

    Can't stop the swell, Brown wins on Tuesday. Sorry to say but It's too little, too late for Martha and Obama.

    January 15, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Jack Shubert

    Two reasons why Brown is ahead in the polls. First, misinformation on healtcare reform abounds in MA. They do not deal deal with the facts, just the I have heard mentality. Personally my health care costs have increased 20% this year and a 20% out of pocket tacked on. This is what people want more of! Second the media is painting Martha coakley as a witch and Brown as the Republican JFK. Well this witch was one tough prosecutor and now very capable attorney general. She will not be influenced by DC lobbyists. Brown – state legislator. Oh and by the way he drives an "old" pick-up truck. They have been trying to pass health care reform since the days of Harry Truman and people want to take this back to square one. Go to webmd.com healtcare reform for the facts and not hear-say. Wake up Massachsetts and do the right thing for MA and America. Vote for Martha Coakley.

    January 15, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Annie, Atlanta

    After what the Republican party has done to our country, I'm shocked that this race is so close. We've just begun to dig out, and are asking for more of the same? Wow. How soon we forget, apparently.

    Scott L, you must have employer provided insurance. If so, you better work until you're 65 or try doing it on your own, and then see how you feel. We own a small business and pay $1100 per month, plus the first $5000 out of our own pockets, and after that insurance pays 70% of what they deem allowable. That means we're responsible for at least 30%, minimum. Have you stayed overnight in a hospital recently? I'm all for capitalism as long as it works for all of us, and not just big corporations with obscene amounts of money to lobby Congress. I don't want a hand out, I want insurance companies, who have seen an increase in profits of more than 400% over the last 8 years to be reigned in. That's all. Is that seriously too much to ask? Seriously?

    January 15, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Bob Pasquale

    If McCain and Palin had been elected.....if the Republicans had held a majority in Congress, would they have let the banks and financial institutions collapse? NO......they would have had to do exactly what Obama did in order to prevent economic meltdown, and the results would have been exactly the same in regards to unemployment today. So stop whining about the Dems "screwing up the country"....it was already screwed up when they took over, including heathcare, only we gave the Republicans EIGHT years to continue screwing up before we called it quits and screamed for "change"......you're giving this guy ONE year and already you want his head.....it wasn't like he inherited a surplus, as Bush did.....so 1 trillion, 2 trillion......does it really make a difference?

    January 15, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. mar

    The establishment pres was reluctant to investigate Barack and we elected the biggest camelian in history to be president. Electing Martha will be assisting in continuing the lies and distortations of this administration. It seems the the politicians forgot that they work for us and noot vise versa.

    Our president can read what other people write on a teleprompter very well. It is time to take away the teleprompter and let us hear his original tausht if he has on. A vote for Matha is a vote for prolonging the recession!!!

    January 15, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Doug

    I am sure that if Brown wins, it will not take any longer to seat him than it did Al Franken.

    What's good for the goose.....

    January 15, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Tony L.

    It amazing to me how people have deluded themselves into believing that Obama has or is failing. That somehow he has not brought the change they were expecting. People are indeed strange. He has done everything he has said he would do on the campaign trail and the funny part is people will either say he has done too much or he has not done enough. He is caught in a catch-22. The only reason why Republican candidates are gaining ground (if they are) is because the enthusiasm among Democrats voters has waned so much that many are now not voting. Not because they don't like Obama, but because they are focused on their own issues in their life like jobs and their own personal finances, politics are not a priority. Trust me, if voters voted like they did during presidental race, democratic candidates would still win. I can only hope the voters turn out like in 2008, because too many things are at stake.

    January 15, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Future expat

    The American public is like the Rhianna to the GOP's Chris Brown. Here you have a party that, over the past 8 years, has:

    -spent all your money
    -burned your house down
    -alienated all your friends

    And Americans WANT to go back into this abusive relationship??? It boggles the mind.

    January 15, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. O'Connor

    I voted for democrates for a long time. The time has stopped. Lets get Brown in there and stop the Demo-rats

    January 15, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. billy

    Google it..worcester MA...

    Sgt. Michael J. Coakley

    Thanks for dropping the case Pal....

    Attorney General Martha M. Coakley

    January 15, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. jim Cal

    Go Brown." What can Brown do for you", beat down a bad health care bill. Go Brown.

    January 15, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. dstay

    I pray that Brown wins this election and we can stop this monstrous health care bill and the slimy liberals attempt to socialize this country. You dems are in complete denial about the mood of the electorate & I hope this mindset continues. We will see REAL HOPE & CHANGE this fall!

    January 15, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. John

    The delay in certification of the election is by law, they have to wait 10 business days for absentee ballots, then tally the vote, then certify it, it takes that long regardless of which candidate prevails.

    January 15, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Dennis

    I think the fact that is even close in a state this liberal is bad new for Democrats. It would be pretty funny if Uncle Teddy's lifetime appointment seat went to a Republican.

    January 15, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Obama = WORST president EVER

    Good bye, Martha!

    January 15, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. ridewithclyde

    The majority of people do not realize that life was not meant to be easy. I have watched many customers of mine start on their dream of being successful as they challange work, but fall on their face when the unexpected happens. Every line of work has its ups and downs, as well as your personal life, and you had better always be prepared to lift yourself up with spirit and have money put away. Noone is to blame but yourself...we are all survivors. As a business owner for over 30 yrs I have learned to make decisions with numbers and logic, leave your emotions at home.

    January 15, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. Steve, NY

    People of Massachusetts, don't let the Democrats and the liberal press pull the wool over your eyes, vote for Scott Brown. If you want to be properly represented than get rid of all the Democrats in your state. We need to do the same in New York. Vote Republican.

    January 15, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Republicans take as much as they can gouge out of our economy and enviroment for big business and they believed in "trickle down economics" during times when they had made billons of dollars. Now they point to the poor and the unions as "special interests" that are impeding our recovery when the Democrats are trying to help average Americans achieve and sustain a modest living. Republicans tend to only help themselves. Democrats try to do some social good that requires people to act together for the common good of society. You have to ask yourself where is the money going and what is it going to achieve? If you are not a Republican, why would you consider voting for them? The fact that they are the minority party in membership and wield the power that they have over the majority is indicative of how dangerous they are to true democracy. As an Average American you should be more concerned that the Republicans don't want social change that benefits the majority of Americans.

    January 15, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Jess

    As a resident of MA and someone who lives right down the street from Scott Brown – I am so excited that this has been noticed. Scott Brown has been repeatedly reelected by our district and has served us well even though he is overrun by democrats in our state. He is centered – he is not a heavy right wing conservative – unlike coakley who couldn't be more left wing and more out of touch of the reality.

    People claiming that this poll is a hoax and that there are other polls showing Coakley is in the lead obviosuly have not been seeing the mud-slinging ads done by the democrats against brown. No one knows what Coakley plans to do she has no platform and is basically riding on the Obama train.

    I already voted for Scott and know many others, even registered democrats who plan on voting for him as well.

    Go SCOTT BROWN!

    January 15, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. IndependentMAvoter

    Wow, in all my years of living in MA, I have never seen the political ads on TV come out so thick and heavy. (Usually, political contests for Congressional seats are such non-contests that the candidates don't spend a whole lot of $$ on ads.)

    Especially in the past 18 hours, the pro-Dem, anti-Brown ads have become a veritable blizzard.

    Somebody is suddenly VERY scared it seems.

    January 15, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. The Lefties have Lost It

    Looks like there are still a lot of lefties that still just don't get it. This is a reflection on the rotten policies that the "DEMOCRATS" have passed or are prepared to pass with no thoughts as how they affect the average middle american! We are all tired of paying for everyone who the democrats deem need help. I give to Charity and do it on my own terms, no one who works hard in life to get somewhere should be forced to pay for someone who has no initiative to become a productive citizen! The ones who try and fail, I have no problem helping but I don't want our Government dictating I must!

    January 15, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. LeftyMarty

    What our country needs is Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney to
    head the GOP ticket...they are real american patriots who
    know what is best for this country. People do not need health
    care...it should only be for the rich and people who salute our
    flag . Palin and Cheney will keep out aliens and intruders
    from galaxies beyond the spiral nebula.

    January 15, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Hugo

    Obama, I hope you at least can read the writing on the wall for 2012. You are done my man and hopefully Brown will end you and your comrade Pelosi's reign of terror on the Untied States. You're sending our money to Haiti to be mismanaged and lost to politically corrupt politicians that can't even manage to elevate their country after years of receiving our tax dollar handouts while millions of your own Nations citizens have lost everything. Your whole agenda has been on taxes, initiating more regulations to strip us of our rights with green and healthcare bullcrap as a platform and all at a time when nearly 20% of our working class has lost their jobs and their life's savings. Go eat your $150 imported steaks and play some golf, shoot a few hoops then pack your bags!

    January 15, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. LacrosseSon

    Exciting changes are afoot, huh mom! I guess the good people of Mass. are looking for something different than the old, stuffy mid-20th Century thinking they've been stuck with for so long.

    January 15, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    Good grief. The deluded birth-baggers are out in full force on this blog, with their panties still riding high from their demise in the Nov. 2008 election.

    God help us all if this [R] twit actually gets elected, which would cause these mindless rightwing dweebs to celebrate. And the biggest celebrater of America's resultant backwards slide into [R] depression, torture and rightwing ideology will be bin Laden. Afterall he is cut from the very same cloth as America's rightwing underbelly.

    January 15, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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