January 15th, 2010
11:50 AM ET
8 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. ben cassell

    Mass has a chance to make another "shot heard around the world" by electimg Scott Brown. This would start the process of bringing balance to the Senate and the rest of congress in the fall. History has told us that one party control hasn't worked for either party. Help the USA Massachusetts voters and the rest of us will forever be in your debt.

    January 15, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. kathi

    I sure hope MA does the "patriotic" thing, not republican, not democrat, the "patriotic" thing and hire Brown. We need balance in this administration! With the polls showing more and more that the American people are against this healthscare bill, especially since the "New Deal" with the union was made, we can hopefully stop this horrific bill in its tracks!

    January 15, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Val

    All politics aside, considering his mission of reforming healthcare, I think it would be a sad pang of irony if Brown does get elected and the late Kennedy's seat has a no vote on the healthcare bill.

    January 15, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. StopGovTakeoverNow

    So glad to see that the media are so out of touch with the people. Let's keep hitting the ballots and take back this country from the socialist Obamacrates. Wonder how long the Dems will delay democracy while shoving Obamacare down the tax payers throats?

    January 15, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Rick CT

    The Bston Globe is hardly a non-partisan source.

    January 15, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    Too close to call...in MASS!? The people in MASS, of all places, want a return to the [R] perscription for FAILURE?...a return economically to a backward slide into a depression...and a return politically to a backward slide into the Dark Ages? What has contaminated their water there in MASS to make them soooooo incredibly stupid all of a sudden?

    Come on people. Let's keep the party of NO....no progress, no health care, no rules for the rich, no prosperity, no integrity, no brains.....out of office! Vote [D] and let's continue to make America great again.

    January 15, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |

    Don't vote for Brown clearly the the old fear mongering civil rights desicrating neo cons, are up to their old tricks again.

    January 15, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. Obama 2.0

    Dems don't screw this up 🙂

    January 15, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. mikl

    WE idiots intsalled a totally corrupt lier and incompetent fool as our president. CAN I HAVE MY VOTE BACK. This "change" crap, Coakly the same lying seems to be the inly thing osama and martha does well. GO BROWN, GO BROWN,GO BROWN.

    January 15, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Son of Spock

    Whether the Republican wins or not doesn't matter, what matters is the guy is so close.

    Anyone who can't recognize this as a message to D.C. that they are way off to the left is fooling themselves.

    I look forward to the bloodbath in the fall.

    January 15, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Do The Right Thing, Vote Left

    I don't think Americans realize how serious this election is. If Brown wins there will be a groundswell of people who will elect other Republcans. This is stil the Party of No, and the Party of Hatred. They still pretend the president is not a US citizen and they still condone torture. Wake up Americans, especially in MA, you have one chance and one chance only to get it right. The GOP is not for you, and will never be for you. Do the right thing, vote left.

    January 15, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Josh

    Why would it take two weeks to certify the election? A. Dems need to get health bill passed. or B. Give the Dem machine time to manufacture more votes so they win. People of Mass. lose because their voice's are ignored by the Democrats. The writing is on the wall for the Democrats, the poll numbers back that up. This will be fun to watch for political junkies and regular folks alike.

    January 15, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Allowing a Monopoly doesnt bring down prices

    I wouldnt doubt that the woman holding the Brown sign is really a death assurance company employee from nearby Conn. or a brainless tea bagger.

    January 15, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Dave

    THAT IS NOT A DEADLOCK. This is a 4 point lead. Report the news, not what the left wing wants you to report.

    January 15, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. MADEM

    I am a MA dem and I can not vote for Coakley because she refused to prosecute a man for raping a 23 month old girl with a hot curling iron. The reason why she would not prosecute was his father was a big shot union leader in MA

    January 15, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Joe Fattal

    A democrat owght to win this race, someone better than Kennedy, someone that will respect his or her constituency in the primary election. Our late King of the Hill decided to go against his own voters that voted for Hillary Clinton and decided to take his delegates to Obama's camp. It might not have made a difference, but it did show that he rather have a man than a woman to win the Democratic nomination. A Republican can do as much to serve the voters of Massachussets.

    January 15, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. mark

    it's time for change, vote for Brown!

    January 15, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. A.B.

    Anyone surprised that Brown would already decide his vote before he even read the bill?

    January 15, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I personally would like to see Coakly win.............but I believe that the USA is in a "CHANGE" mood. I do not think that any one party has it over the other in the opinion of todays voter. I think that if a party has controlled an area for a longtime the voter is saying lets give another individual a chance to see if we can get better. With that in mind, next year will be a mix of surprises with neither the Reps or Demos WINNING....each will see some surprises. My belief is that it will be flat as far as pick up and losses are concerned. The INDEPENDENT candidates may actually fair better than the old standard barers.

    January 15, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Charlie

    I think regardless of whether who wins MA, this is still a very clear signal to the Whitehouse that this country does not believe in his policies like we are led to believe by the media. If Scott Brown wins in a traditionally blue state it could lead to a groundswell of anti-D party sentiment and give the House and Senate back to the R.

    If Martha wins, it's evident that it was closer than the D would have wanted and could still lead to a groundswell of R voters in other states.

    Either way, Scott or Martha, D or R, this country is giving the White house and clear and concise message: we are not happy with what is happening here.

    January 15, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. msfox2000

    come on massachusettes, don't you dare let teddy's dream die by electing that crazy tea-bagger, brown. dems, get off your butts and vote coakley and honor the senator who cared about you and died trying to pass health care reform.

    January 15, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. JW

    I think Scott Brown said it best, "With all due respect it isn't Ted Kennedy's seat, it is the people's seat" If the people elect Scott Brown in Massachussets it is because they want him to vote against the Obama Health Care Plan!!

    January 15, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Tony

    Nobody cares about the Kennedys. Thats old news. The people care about their wallets and a corrupt government pushing the country into socialism and bankrupcy. Praying for the GOP win or another Dem Senator to not be able to make it to the final vote.

    January 15, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Tony

    The GOP needs to use every parlimentary rules they can to ensure that the Dems can't ram this thru if Brown wins before they seat him. At every point the bill is asked for a vote, the GOP will have them read the entire 2,500 pages of BS. Hopefully normal thinking "representatives" of the people will vote no on closure until Brown is seated. Can't wait for the bad legislation full of corruption is sent down in flames. Glorious Day that would be.

    January 15, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. ChicagoDB

    If Brown wins, who will pay for my health care then? I was hoping that I could have free health care finally and live the good life like they have been sayin.
    you are an idiot

    January 15, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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