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. Lou

    It is ironic that the Kennedy most responsible for getting healthcare "reform" passed might turn out to be named Joseph and not Ted. With the race so close, this third party, anti-tax candidate could siphon enough votes away from Scott Brown to get Martha Coakley elected and keep the super Senate majority intact. He should encourage his supporters to vote for Brown.

    January 15, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. mindy1

    i do not live in Mass, but I am cautiously optomistic that Brown will win. I nver trusted obama-he seemed like a used car saleman, too slick and was disgusted at how many people voted for him based on slick slogans. He has kidnapped the souls of my senators, and they will do anything he wants, and I want senators who will fight for NY, and NOT for obama

    January 15, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Reason

    If Massachusetts votes for a Republican, the spirit of change that the Obama administration used to change foreign perception of the United States will have been lost. Foreigners will again, rightly, consider the United States a nation of uneducated cowboys and oil men which caused the many problems of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Europe, as the United States' intellectual superior, will have every right to judge the States based on this course of action.

    January 15, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. KC

    On my way to work each morning, I drive through Wellesley, MA. Wellesley tends to be a pretty left-leaning place, but based on the lawn signs, people are fed up. I saw at least 10 Scott Brown lawn signs, but only one Martha Coakley sign. If people in Wellesley are voting Republican, the Democrats are in serious trouble.

    January 15, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. d1120

    Hey democrats.....you wanted change, here it comes!!!!!!!

    January 15, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Martha Coakley will win
    Many voters disappointed by republicans

    Many Americans believe we have to change health care reform they expected republicans will come up with alternate plan but they didn’t now hard to trust republicans

    Republicans leaders 100% agree with Rush Limbaugh and FOX comments many Independents does want to trust republicans

    January 15, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. NotALemming

    People are starting to WAKE UP and see the last 12 months as a high-spending, high-unemployment LEFTIST FAILURE that it is. Between the marxist fool in the White House, and 3 YEARS of DEMOCRAT rule in Congress, is it any wonder we are currently heading in THE WRONG DIRECTION????? Stimulus: FAILURE. AFGHANISTAN: FAILURE. Jobs: FAILURE. Cash for clunkers: FAILURE. Auto bailout: FAILURE. Healthcare: FAILURE. Gitmo: FAILURE. See a pattern here? Obama's policies are failures! Get rid of his rubber-stamps in the Senate!!!!!

    January 15, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Fran

    The Washington big spenders have sold out to Wall Street and the Unions. It's time to send them all home and elect representatives who will spend money wisely.This country has never been on such a spending spree.

    January 15, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. vig

    Martha Coakley will win
    Many voters disappointed by republicans

    Many Americans believe we have to change health care reform they expected republicans will come up with alternate plan but they didn’t now hard to trust republicans

    Republicans leaders 100% agree with Rush Limbaugh and FOX comments many Independents does want to trust republicans

    January 15, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Laurie

    Anyone who is a party loyalist....has to be completely ignorant, on welfar or permantly unemployed by choice.

    The problems of this country are bigger than a "party". Doesn't anyone understand that we are completely broke. They just raised the amount of debt we can be in....so we can get into more debt. Our government is corrupt at it's core, right or left....the middle class is going to be wiped out.....and we are so ignorant, lazy and misinformed by media propoganda. We point fingers, name call, stereotype and infight rather than standing unified as citizens to call our Representatives out and hold them accountable. We should have the right to fire then...like any other job, before their terms are up. Let them feel the unemployment pain.

    Please vote Brown. Please vote for a better balance of power so that EVERY voice is not only heard, but represented.

    January 15, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Charles C

    How ironic, that a politician who stands for everything Ted Kennedy was against may be elected in his seat.

    January 15, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. Randy Wolfgang

    Yes they should vote for Brown – a hypocrite against equal rights for gays but had no problem making money posing nude for a magazine with a high gay readership.

    January 15, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. bobster

    not another GOP-STOPPER! Demecrate's WAKE-UP! Get out the VOTE!...we need change in America so we can have progress. Vote COAKLEY, Yes! Yes!... If History repeats it self...and it does, remember Reagans slogan, " Just say no "! we dont need another NO !!!

    January 15, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. scott

    The title of article makes me laugh "Poll shows shock in big race". Who are they trying to kid? Shock for who? The might dems? Maybe trying to sway the votes to Coakley? Get ready dems. Change it is a coming. You can spew and spin all the crap you normally spew and spin but change is coming. It's inevitable Can't wait to see how the dems can cheat their way into getting their way. LOL

    January 15, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    This seat won't be the only lost in 2010...Reid's numbers are swirling in the bowl!

    January 15, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Allen

    It would be nice if Brown won but Massachusetts is so politically corrupt it will never happen. Wish nothing but the worst for the State.

    January 15, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Will

    Coakley ran a campaign of arrogance and she's paying the price of her thinking Democrats can do whatever they want, wherever they want. Brown could have given up without a fight, but he took the challenge and made this a real election.

    Even if Brown loses, no amount of spin is going to make Democrats feel good about the coming months leading up to November.

    Democrats use "historic" as a talking point for a lot of their agenda, well here is something that really is historic. A Republican making a true fight out of what everyone thought would be a Democrat guaranteed victory in one of the bluest states of the Union.

    Like the man said, it's not Ted's seat, it's not the Democrat's seat, it is the people's seat. The people may very well choose to put Brown in that seat, something which hasn't happened in several generations.

    January 15, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. sine

    If the people of America keep voting republican....they deserve what they ask for. That's what i said in 00, 04 and thats what I will continue to say. If Americans want to stay stuck on STUPID ...oh well. It doesn't harm Obama one bit if you keep picking hateful...war monguering republicans to office. He has money...a beautiful wife and family and his life is not going to be affected one bit.

    January 15, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Richard

    Welcome to REALITY all you left wing kool aid drinkers. This is just the beginning of the tidal wave that take place at the mid-term elections and again in 2012. Say goodbye to Socialism and the "secret-behind-closed-doors-Health-Care-payoffs"...oops.... I meant "change and transparency". If you are doing this poorly in Massachussets, just imagine how bad it will be everywhere else. This is going to be GREAT!

    January 15, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Jeremy

    Dems are truly ignorant if they think that Obama's stimulus and economic plan are working or are ever going to work. NEVER in the modern economic history of this country has a democrat improved our economy by spending more and increasing government. BoBo the monkey could have been in office in the mid 90's when the tech boom hit our economy. However, Clinton established policies and extended existing policies which destroyed our real estate bubble. Bush 2 spent money like a liberal and look where that got us

    January 15, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Jim In Miami

    So here's my "Harry Reid" moment.

    If the Democrats are relying on the "Boston Irish Catholics" to bail out our 'black president' – the Dems might have made a sorry miscalculation.

    And anyone who knows Boston – knows just what I'm talking about.

    - where were the worst "school integration' incidents – not Little Rock, not Birmingham - you know where....

    January 15, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Dee

    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.

    I think someone needs you to either (1) get you some serious mental help or (2) put you out to pasture.

    January 15, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. kirkmo

    Wake up, America! The GOP wants (needs) the nation to fail. It wants one-party rule. It has it's your own national network campaiging for it every day. It lies, obstructs and harrasses everything to derail the process. No law that could possibly be successful can be allowed to be passed. Why? Because the GOP is a totalitarian, extremeist party. No moderates allowed. It would rather rule a nation it has destroyed and divided than allow the possibility of a successful America under Dem leadership. That, to me, spells traitor.

    The only thing they need now are the brown shirts and logos.

    January 15, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. R1

    I cannot beleive how stupid people are. Obama has been in office just one year and the mess W Bush did the last 8 years are being blamed on him. Elect a R and see spending without paying any bills start again. At least with the D you have spending, but also some bills are getting paid.

    January 15, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. MattK

    Please do not say any republican or tea bagger vote is getting us "back to the constitution" Especially after Bush pissed on it, ripped it up, and set it on fire. Bush will always be the ultimate screw up who sent America towards a downward spiral. He validated immoral politcal activity, spying on americans, torture, and shat on the first and fourth amendments. Anythign is better than a republican or a tea bagger, they just simply don't have the mental capacity to understand anything outside of there self absorbed bubble. ( and i am not a democrat)

    January 15, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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