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. Sarah

    Dream on Republicans, dream on.......

    January 15, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Dar

    Go Brown Go

    2010/2012 Change is coming

    January 15, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. AnProf

    That this "deep blue" state is now leaning towards a Republican Senate candidate tells you all you need to know about our fears of a super-majority, leftist Democratic agenda for our country.
    Had Congress and the White House worked to find bipartisan solutions and kept their promises of transparency and ethical standards, this situation would be much different now.
    May power, overreach and arrogance learn a lesson in humility on Tuesday.

    January 15, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Dan Holiday

    Man...you have to love how the press reports things. When Coakley is leading by a two point margin, they say she is up by two. When Brown leads by a four point margin, they say it is even. I guess we know who the press is backing...lol. VOTE BROWN FOR A CHANGE.

    January 15, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. Scott

    Come on Massachusetts! Just say no to socialism and vote for Brown!

    January 15, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. John D.

    I thought MSNBC was crap but CNN is right inthere with them!

    January 15, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Fair is Fair

    It's all about momentum – and Brown has that by a wide margin.

    I'm a MA resident and a conservative. Believe me when I say this – NEVER in my adult life have I seen such enthusiam for a conservative candidate. People standing on street corners holding Brown signs... lawn signs everywhere... thousands of volunteers manning phone banks.

    They will still be on duty next Wednesday – handing out tissues to Coakley supporters.

    January 15, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Another Day

    Say it ain't so, GOP actually surviving in Liberal land. That's like W winning the mayor race in Berkley.

    January 15, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Kyle, OH

    MA would be fools to sell their souls to the devil. If they don't vote for the Dems, God help them.

    January 15, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. liberal wingnut

    America needs to wake up and vote on policies not popularity.

    January 15, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. rob

    If Brown wins this election it's the end of the Left Wing of the Democrat Party in this country for many election cycles. Can't wait to hear the spin.

    God bless the American people who are showing they're not as stupid as the Dems and the liberal MSM think they are.

    November can't come fast enough.

    January 15, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. Ken H.

    If the people of Mass. really love this country and care about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then it is time to vote out ALL democrats, starting with Coakley.

    January 15, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Rick in OP

    Regardless of who ultimately wins the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, the fact that this election is so close in the bluest of blue states is a sign of a pending disaster for the for the Democrats in November. Obama, Reid and Pelosi are leading the Democratic Party over the edge of the cliff. And yet they still insist on passing this fiasco of legislation called Health Care Reform.

    Insane……absolutely insane!

    January 15, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. Rob Stumpf

    Would be the greatest thing for America if Brown could win, could help to stop Obamacare...and even if it comes close, it proves beyond all doubt that the tea party/anti-Obama movement has a lot of support.

    If Democrats can't win in Massachusetts...what's up with that?

    January 15, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. Keith in Austin

    Democrat desperation running amuck!

    Hopefully this is a bellweather moment that The People are fed up with the
    Liberal left-wing under Pelosi, Reid and Obozo's leadership!

    January 15, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. todd black

    I hope that Brown wins. This health care bill is going to crumble what is left of our economy. Our nations debt is at an all time high, and rising by leaps an bounds. The government will do as they always have.....Pass us the bill....How else is it going to get paid. You hear the liberals say were going to raise taxes on the rich to pay for it. Lol, they will raise the prices of their products and services and pass it on to the consumer, its called inflation. The democrats have always had one thing in common.....Tax and spend. Their doing a great job in that regard.

    January 15, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. jerseylou

    You Dems better watch out for the fraud these repugs are going to pull on you.

    January 15, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. GG

    If Brown wins it will send such a shock wave through the democrats ranks that it won't really matter if he's sworn in in time to vote for health care reform. Enough rats will flee the sinking ship that passage will become impossible....

    January 15, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. fmjk

    In his cnn.com article, "What's serious and silly in Washington politics," conservative pundit Ed Rollins says - without even a trace of irony: "Getting an acceptable compromise of the very different Senate and House health care bills is still the president's and the Democratic leadership's priority. Stopping it is still the Republicans' priority." Don't those two sentences pretty much say it all about who is serious and who is silly? What does the Republican party offer other than an effort to stop Obama from accomplishing anything?

    January 15, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. joy who love her President.

    Pls stop the hype. Coakley will win big time. She will win by two to one. Take it to the bank.

    January 15, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    This is amazing how in a solidly liberal state like Mass. the poll shows the republican up by 4. Is it clearer now that people are angry? First Virginia and New Jersey, no doubt Mass would be huge and should cause the DEMs to rethink some issues! Not quite the cake walk some expected!

    January 15, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Mr.FluffyPants

    I just hope Brown does not win by a low enough margin to need a recount. Somehow the Dems always find ballots for themselves when that happens. They almost stole Florida, that was close. If it was not for Al Franken this would be non story just like the health care debacle.

    January 15, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Silence Dogoode

    Wow I need to look out of my window to see the flying pigs! MA voting for a republican?

    January 15, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Black Viper

    That is the price you pay for taking off the public option and not opening the market for competition or enlarging medicare but mandating insurance with penalties for people tha can not afford it.
    If brown wins so be it and that will to send a message to democrats that we don't buy any crap as a bill that favors the insurance companies.

    January 15, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. ridewithclyde

    This is an example that too many voters use their emotions to make decisions and realize later, when reality settles in, that a makeup is necessary. In real life people should only use logic and numbers when they spend money or vote and leave their feelings at home.

    January 15, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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