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. Clearly Departed

    When things are good, people vote for Democrats because they say such nice things. Then Democrats run the economy into the ground and everyone runs to the Republicans to get things back on track. Once Republicans do, they get corrupted, try to beat Democrats at their own game, lose any sense of differentiation, and the Democrats start winning again. Unfortunately for Democrats, Obama has accelerated the cycle.

    January 15, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Ed D

    People who think R is wrong and D is the answer have their head deep in the sand. It's about balance and right now we have none and look at all the damage it has done.

    January 15, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. do the right thing, vote BROWN

    it's the party of no – they're the party of hate – bla bla bla -- no one's buying it anymore. the proof: in a state where only 13 percent of registered voters are republican, the senate race now belongs to the guy with an "R" next to his name. but by all means, keep pretending democrats aren't running this country into the ground.

    January 15, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Nadai

    The democratic party are completely out of touch with the American People if they think we will stand up for this backroom screwing of the american taxpayer when it comes to their disgraceful health care plan. Scott Brown stands for common sense in a time of complete hyprocrisy on the part of the democratic party. They do not care about people but rather power. The democrats figure they are out in 2010 anyway, so why no ram their socialist, unamerican, unconstitutional agenda through and dare the Republicans to repeal it. Bring it on baby!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 15, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Bob Pasquale

    Looking for "change", eh? Yeaning for the "Good Ol' days" before Obama, are ya? Perhaps you're forgetting WHY Obama and the Dems were elected overwhelmingly the last time.....think back. Most of the problems Obama inherited came from the Party you're now claiming is the party of "change"....seriously? I've hear a lot of what a Republican WOULDN'T have done if elected, but very little if anything on what they WOULD have done if they had been elected. Tell me what a Republican Administration would have done differently if faced with the situation Obama found himself in when he took over. It's one thing to bash a plan but you should make sure you have one yourself before you bash.......

    January 15, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Jay

    people, have you already forgotten how useless republicans are in government? they blew it for generations the last time they were in power and its only been a year!!! come on massachusets

    January 15, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. gary davis harbor oregon

    any republican that calls themselves free thinkers are full of it .. the party of NO doesn't allow you to think on your own .if they did you wouldn't be a purist republican .. and most of you are not wealthy enough to be a real republican . so it proves just how dumb you really are just think of it... you beleive Palin is smart LOL and that is funny real funny .. the party of racist purity ( republican core) is on the way down .. I hope they can't drag america down with them .. we need to cut the cored and set them free to fall away BYE BYE 🙂

    January 15, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. pat

    I think they should continue to call it the Kennedy seat a little longer, then when Brown gets in and votes against that disgrace of a healthcare bill, then they can say the Kennedy seat killed it. Ha Ha.

    January 15, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. True American

    I'm not republican...I'm not democrat...GO BROWN!!!!!

    January 15, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. spencer blair

    Does this mean I don't get my scooter to ride around? I had one already picked out.

    January 15, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Patrick

    Republicans = Liars. It's easy to run on a platform when you are perfectly cool with lying.

    January 15, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |


    wow...this is proof that not everyone should be allowed to vote. also, i'm going to guess this guy's only argument in politics is "they're the party of no! they use fear-mongering! they hate everyone". Yawn....keep saying that and watch as America cleans house, starting this tuesday.

    January 15, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. JD

    I hope the contest goes to the Republican and we can finally derail this anti-American "reform" that the Dems are trying to cram down everyone's throats.

    As for these comments on the forum that Republicans are the "party of hate," I suggest these liberals look at how they treat Sarah Palin if they want to see what true blind hatred looks like.

    January 15, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. James Napoli

    If Browns wins it will be a terrible development for the nation. The party of NO will have the votes to grid lock passage of meaningful legislation. For sure they wil not introduce any helpful bills. Sad that the Republicans are more interested in regaining power than serving the nation.

    January 15, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. quartrun

    Hey "THOSE WHO SACRIFICE LIBERTY FOR SECURITY DESERVE NIETHER" PREZ BEN FRANKLIN" – i know dems aren't deterred by facts, but franklin was never president...

    January 15, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Blue Dogs 2010

    If Coakley loses the Senate race, she'll go back to being State Attorney General as a face-saving way out, while Obama is only interesting in saving Governor Deval Patrick's butt.

    January 15, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. Hypocrisy at its finest!

    Okay, I'll lay a $20 bill out that this doesn't make it to the post but here goes – For those (including Olberman last night) that are having such as hissy fit over Brown's legal and tasteful Cosmopolitan spread in his youthful years, did you have as much of a problem with Obama's admitted illegal cocaine use in his youthful years? Get over it and grow up.

    January 15, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Roger

    Go Brown, Go help us all, a democrate from Colorado

    January 15, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. TW

    The present bill exists only because of the bribes and corruption, to Nelson, Landrieu, pharmaceutical companies, and now, unions. What would be so catastrophic in scrapping the present bill, and enacting, one by one, incremental actual reforms? Medicare will be broke in less than ten years. If there are some good ideas to control costs, why not start there? Prohibit underwriting based on pre-existing conditions? Good idea. Let's try it. But this monstrosity, for anyone to try in one fell swoop to "fix" one sixth of the economy is beyond arrogance (which Obama and the Democrats in Congress have more than enough of), it is insane, and if it is enacted, the people will pay for it.

    January 15, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. lmj

    Why are you people so against health care "like in Canada and Europe". I have friends in both places and they are very happy with their health care. According to statistics, they will live longer than us too. I guess they just have better genes, or they have access to health care we don't-hmmmm???

    January 15, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. jon

    I'm a MA voter and I have never voted for GOP in my life, however I will be voting for Brown on Tuesday. Obamacare scares me and it needs to stop.

    January 15, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Joan A

    What people outside of Mass might not realize is that not everyone revered Ted Kennedy. He did some good, yes, but he also did a LOT of bad. The majority of people in Mass do not want this health care bill, in major part because Mass will especially lose out since we already have mandatory health care here. Why should we have to pay for the rest of the country for what is working (albeit imperfectly) here and what costs us so much already?

    Scott Brown may not be perfect, but he is listening to the stifled voices of the people. And it is nice to be heard.

    January 15, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. Ann in NY

    Go Scott Brown!

    It's about time someone representating the PEOPLE is running. Usually it's I, me, my. It's never we, us, our.

    There are more issues besides health care.

    When Scott Brown wins, you will be able to hear the rumbling across this great country as the Dems become scared of losing their power.

    Win, win, win!!!

    January 15, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. File under "Sarcasm"

    Coakley is an incompetent party hack who assumed that as a Democrat she was entitled to hold the "Ted Kennedy Memorial Senate Seat" without campaigning or being questioned on her record. When the Boston Globe endorsed her this week, 95% of the comments on their website denounced their decision.

    Her record as Attorney General is terrible and her campaign is stuffed with money from special interest groups supporting the healthcare bill. If elected, her vote on that bill is bought and paid for just like Landrieu, Nelson and all the other crooks in the Senate. Massachusetts' existing healthcare system will be trashed and it will wind up paying the bill for all the states with special deals.

    January 15, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Ironic Parody

    Speaking of hypocrisy and double standard...harry reid, al sharpton, jesse jackson, eliot spitzer, timothy geithner, chris dodd, and sonia sotomayor...just to name a very few

    January 15, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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