January 15th, 2010
11:50 AM ET
5 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. Bren

    Independents make up the majority of voters in Massachusetts (50%).

    Based on a recent Rasmussen poll--70% of Independents plan on voting for Brown.

    If the Democrats have to spend this much resources/money on a Democrat stronghold state-–how much money/resources are they going to have to use to try to save/win seats in conservative leaning districts/states in the Novemeber, 2010 elections.

    I can't wait until next Tuesday's Masachusetts election-–and I cannot wait until the November, 2010 elections.

    January 15, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Dan C

    CNN=partisan hacks....If we can keep the criminals like Acorn and the other democrat cheating machines out of MA next Tuesday Scott Brown will beat the fool Coakley by a minimum of 10 points. Only the real brainwashed OBOTS here in MA like Coakley. The atmosphere here on the ground in MA can best be described as Brown surging and Coakley and the left wing loons in full complete panic mode. MA residents keep your eyes open for the democrat cheating machine next Tuesday and call the State and local Police if you see anything suspicious, the Democrats will try and steal this election from the people, that I am sure.

    January 15, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    If this race fails to send a loud and clear message to the democrats in Congress trying to ram a disastrous health care bill down our throats, then nothing will.

    If there is ANY attempt by the democrats to withhold certification in the event of a clear victory, then we will all know which party is TRULY corrupt.

    January 15, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Mj

    This is a good sign

    If we could just go back to the wonderful times we had under republican leadership between 2001-2008, specifically: when there wasn't outrageous federal spending, when we didn't have 1.2 trillion dollar health care bills (Medicare Modernization Act of 2003), deficits weren't doubling, the cost of health care didn't double, the cost of energy didn't double, the cost of tuition didn't double, there weren't taxes and redistribution, there wasn't socialism for the wealthy sanctioned by the government, the government wasn't consolidating power and protecting the wealthy and corporations, the government wasn't spying or torturing or fear mongering, personal incomes weren't flat, there wasn't an increased gap between the rich and poor, and wasn't two incomplete & poorly executed wars costing our country trillions.

    January 15, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Tony

    "What has contaminated their water there in MASS to make them soooooo incredibly stupid all of a sudden?" Simple answer: Obama and his corrupt administration and congress. His campaign LIES, his LIES in office. Real Americans who don't simply vote for the letter in front of the name, have seen this president trying to destroy the country we know and love. Its not just Mass. NJ and VA a couple of months ago, and then EVERY OTHER STATE in Nov. Pretty simple to understand if you aren't from the far far loony left minority.

    January 15, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Al

    Coakley slept on the switch. After the primary, she thought she has it in her hands and disappeared during the holidays; now she has a battle, she might be a little too late

    January 15, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Debbie in VA

    The only thing I wonder is are the politicians in Washington listening? This should be a wake up call for them to realize they are on the wrong path. Their pride for passing so called health reform will make them lose their majority. I don't get it, do they ever learn?

    January 15, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I hope Scott Brown Wins, Wins,Wins,---He is the MAN for this seat
    VOTE VOTE VOTE --SCOTT BROWN

    January 15, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. smithonpolitics

    "He will restore some balance to the hyperpartisan environment in Washington." WHAT? The points of being in office is to pass policy. You think that taking away the majority will REDUCE partisanship???

    January 15, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. mick

    Lets run-off Coakley,,, she make Palin look smart. A vote for Coakley is a vote for stupid.

    January 15, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Steve (the real one)

    Is this OPEN Senate seat, really "Kennedy's seat"? I thought it belonged to the people of Mass (silly me). Those who are still pronouncing it as Kennedy's seat are a part of the stale political status quo!

    January 15, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. nwcanadian

    People use the phrase "the party of NO" as if that was a bad thing. Thank goodness there are conservatives saying NO to the Democrats' ill-conceived health care plan.

    January 15, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. John

    I think the people in Boston and across the country are not happy with what is going on with the current adminstration, that is why Brown is so close to a victory in a historically democratic safe seat. And, the adminstration does not care – there health care has only 34% support nation wide, and Obama is at 46% approval. What happend to the party I grew up in? We have truely lost our way and ability to listen to the people!

    January 15, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. Tom

    Come on Mass.!

    After decades of "inflicting" Sen. Ted Kennedy on us, we, the "Rest of America" deserve a break.

    Vote Brown - and reclaim some of that dignity you used to have.

    January 15, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    A vote for Brown is a vote for the Death Assurance Companies that already have death panels and prexsisting conditions clauses.If your overweight dont expect to ever be covered in the future.

    January 15, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. offwallst

    I have said it all along...since January 20...the silver lining for the dems being in control..was full exposure to their radical views...

    The Democratic party will not see power for at least 20 years!!

    January 15, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. nomorepoliticsplease

    "From SC with love for the good peeps of Mass., VOTE BROWN or else WE will ALL be controlled by government in that they will be able to REGULATE every aspect of our lives because they WILL then RELATE it to health care. Why do you think the DEMS are doing EVERYTHING possible to pass this bill? Why are they NOT concerned about jobs? BECAUSE they HAVE to HAVE CONTROL over us ALL and this health care bill does it. VOTE BROWN and he will save us all."

    to barbara:
    wow! paranoid conspiracy theory much? HAHAHA. If you actually believe what you are saying, i would suggest that you go see a doctor yourself. He may have a pill for that.

    January 15, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. Vote RIGHT!

    If Brown wins, that sends a clear message that MOST of the American people don’t want socialism! And Obama’s far left agenda!

    January 15, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. Robert Reed

    Typical of the media, one Republican sign and 6 Democratic signs in a toss up race.

    January 15, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Petey

    God,

    Please let Brown win this election.

    Thank you,

    Amen

    January 15, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. nyc homelessi conservative

    have said it all along...since January 20...the silver lining for the dems being in control..was full exposure to their radical views...

    The Democratic party will not see power for at least 20 years!!

    January 15, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Billy J..Texas..

    Although I doubt the validity of a poll conducted by a local news station with the help of university students. If she fails it is because the Dems chose (once again) a person who thinks there is no need to talk directly to the middle class. As in-shaking hands and putting up with the tea baggers that you run into along the way. Campaigning seems to be out, when it comes to these political science major types. And campaigning is what it is all about, when your ideology and answers are better than your opponents.

    January 15, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Centrist

    May the good people of Massachuesetts fulfill Sen. Kennedy's hard work and dedication for public service by electing Martha Coakley to the US Senate.

    God bless the USA and all of our families!

    January 15, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Kurt from Canada

    I'd question the intelligence of the average American voter, but considering you voted Bush in to office for 8 years which resulted in the mess you're in now, yet are willing to give anyone from that obstructionist party a chance to do it to you again, I think I have my answer.

    You people deserve what you get.

    January 15, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. Clifford in New York

    What's more amazing here is that the Liberals don't know whats happening or why!

    January 15, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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