(CNN) - A new poll released Monday afternoon indicates that Republican Scott Brown has a 7-point edge over Democrat Martha Coakley in Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.
According to an American Research Group survey, 52 percent of likely voters back Brown, a state senator, with 45 percent supporting Coakley, the state's attorney general. Meanwhile, 2 percent back Joseph Kennedy, a third party candidate who is not related to the late senator. The 7-point advantage for Brown is just within the poll's sampling error.
Brown had a 48 to 45 percent advantage in an ARG poll released over the weekend.
The survey indicates 97 percent of likely Republican voters are backing Brown, independent voters supporting him 64 to 32 percent over Coakley, and nearly one out of 4 Democrats also supporting Brown.
A Suffolk University poll released Thursday indicated Brown held a 4-point lead. Other recent partisan and non-partisan surveys suggested the race was a dead heat.
Washington (CNN) - Senior administration officials confirm President Obama will deliver his State of Union address on January 27 at 9 p.m. ET.
The decision for Obama to deliver the nationally televised speech next week was made Monday, offficials said.
(CNN) - Sen. Ben Nelson's support in his home state of Nebraska has dipped below 50 percent, according to a new poll which finds a majority of voters there disapprove of the Democratic health care bill the two-term senator supports.
According to a new poll conducted by the Omaha World-Herald, Nelson's job approval rating now stands at 42 percent with a 48 percent disapproval rating. Forty-four percent of those polled also said Nelson's support for the health care reform bill would hurt his chances at re-election 2012 should he decide to run.
Nelson was the last Senate Democrat to sign on to his party's health care bill, and has since been criticized for only agreeing to the bill after winning special concessions from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The poll found that more than 60 percent of Nebraskans questioned oppose the Senate health care bill.
A majority said they opposed Nelson's vote in favor of the bill, while about 1 in 3 approved of it. Three-quarters of the GOP voters surveyed - but only 22 percent of Democrats - opposed the senator's vote.
Nelson, who served as governor of Nebraska from 1991-1999, has long been a popular figure in the state. He was re-elected in 2006 to his second Senate term with 64 percent of the vote.
The same poll out Monday shows fellow Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, a Republican who voted against the health care measure, with a 63 percent approval rating.
The poll surveyed 500 registered voters in Nebraska between Jan. 8-12. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
Washington (CNN) - A liberal group is stepping up its offensive against White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, urging its members to sign a pledge claiming they will not to support the former Illinois congressman if he ever runs for public office again.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee launched a television ad in December questioning Emanuel's handling of the health care issue.
On Monday, the PCCC initiated a pledge campaign in response to a January 12 New York Times article that detailed how Emanuel met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and helped broker the decision to abandon a public option in order to garner the support of Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman. The Connecticut senator had just gone on a Sunday morning talk show to announce he would not vote for the Democrat's health care bill, and thus, could not be counted as Reid's 60th vote. The PCCC said Emanuel "undermine[d] progressives behind the scenes."
"There's nobody in Washington, D.C. who caves at the slightest hint of a fight with corporate interests more than Rahm Emanuel," PCCC co-founder Adam Green said in a statement. "We're making clear to Rahm that when he undermines progressives and the overwhelming will of the American people on issues like the public option, he will pay a political price back home."
The pledge Web site says the PCCC's goal is 1000 signatures; as of Monday afternoon, about 950 PCCC members had signed the pledge, and the group planned an online ad campaign in Illinois to boost awareness of the campaign.
(CNN) - Insurgent Massachussetts Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown told CNN he expects to be installed quickly as Massachusetts' next senator should he win the state's special election Tuesday.
Asked about the state of the race, Brown said he's still campaigning as if he's running "down 30 points."
But sounding confident, the GOP state senator says he's made plans to travel to Washington Friday if he's victorious.
Brown warned any plan to quickly pass health care reform before the results are certified in Massachusetts would send the wrong message to Americans.
He made the remarks as he was greeting voters outside Boston's TD Banknorth Garden before Monday's Boston Bruins game.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama appears in a new campaign commercial for fellow Democrat Martha Coakley, the party's candidate in Tuesday's special election for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.
The ad began running on television in Massachusetts Monday, one day after the president was the main attraction at a rally for Coakley Sunday in Boston.
The commercial uses portions of Obama's speech from the Sunday Coakley campaign event.
"Martha knows the struggles Massachusetts working families face because she's lived those struggles. She's fought for the people of Massachusetts every single day," says the president in the ad. "As attorney general she took on Wall Street and recovered millions for Massachusetts taxpayers. She went after big insurance companies, took on predatory lenders. That's what Martha Coakley's all about. Every vote matters. Every voice matters. We need you on Tuesday."
(CNN) - Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a heart and lung surgeon, departed for Haiti on Monday as part of a medical mission to provide relief to the battered Carribean nation.
"I left this morning out of Southern Florida, prepared for disaster conditions and with as many medical supplies as I was allowed to carry," Frist said in an e-mail to supporters Monday. He said he will be blogging and posting photos from the country throughout his trip.
Frist said he is soliciting donations and medical supplies for the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund, a group he founded to assist victims of last week's earthquake. Frist is traveling to Port-au-Prince with Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief organization.
Chris Walker, a spokesman for the former Tennessee senator, said in an e-mail that Frist will be in Haiti for "as long as needed."
Frist has also undertaken several medical missions to Darfur, the war-torn region of western Sudan.
Washington (CNN) - Less than 24 hours before Massachusetts voters head to the polls, the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report is predicting that Republican Scott Brown will win the special election Tuesday to fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's Senate seat.
On late Monday morning, Rothenberg changed his prediction from "Toss up" to "Lean Takeover" in favor of the Massachusetts Republican.
"While special elections often come down to turnout – and they therefore are more difficult to predict than normal elections – the combination of public and private survey research and anecdotal information now strongly suggests that Republican Scott Brown will defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in tomorrow's race to fill the remainder of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat," Rothenberg wrote on his Web site.
The non-partisan Cook Political Report has the race rated as a "Toss up," but notes in its analysis of the race that "we put a finger on the scale for Brown."
Follow Mark Preston on Twitter: @prestoncnn
(CNN) - A second straight poll of New York State voters indicates that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York holds a double digit lead over a potential Democratic challenger.
But the Siena Research Institute survey, released Monday, also indicates that more New Yorkers have an unfavorable view of Gillibrand than have a favorable view.
Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee last week announced he's considering a primary challenge to Gillibrand, a former congresswoman from upstate New York who was was named a year ago to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton, who stepped down from her Senate seat after being confirmed as secretary of state.
Gillibrand is running this year to serve the final two years of Clinton's term. Ford, a former five-term congressman who narrowly lost a 2006 bid for the Senate in Tennessee, now lives in New York.
According the the Siena poll, Gillibrand leads Ford 41 to 17 percent in a hypothetical Democratic party primary match up, with 37 percent undecided. Gillibrand had a 19 point advantage over Ford in a Marist College survey released Friday, with one in three voters undecided.
But some other results in the poll also spells trouble for Gillibrand.