January 23rd, 2010
04:45 PM ET
8 years ago

Poll: Voter anger helped GOP pull Senate upset


A new poll shows voter anger at current conditions in the country right now and at the Democrats' agenda in Washington helped fuel Browns victory. (Getty Images)

(CNN) - Voter anger at current conditions in the country right now and at the Democrats' agenda in Washington helped fuel the upset victory of Republican Scott Brown in Tuesday's special senate election in Massachusetts, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted right after the Tuesday election by the Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University, was released Saturday morning.

Nearly two-thirds of Brown voters questioned in the poll say that their vote was partially to express opposition to the Democrats agenda in Washington. And three-quarters of people who cast ballots for Brown, a Massachusetts state senator, say they are dissatisfied or angry with the policies of President Barack Obama's administration.

Brown narrowly defeated state attorney general Martha Coakley in the special election to fill the last three years of the term of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Brown became the first Massachusetts Republican to win a senate election since 1972. Brown's victory in a state where Democrats win most elections, preceded by GOP victories in gubernatorial contests in New Jersey and Virginia last November, appear to have put the Democrats on the defensive.

The poll indicates that independent voters made up about half of the electorate in Tuesday's election in Massachusetts, and that Brown topped Coakely by around a two to one margin among independents. Exit polls from 2008 indicate that Barack Obama won independents in the Bay State by 17 percentage points over John McCain in the presidential election. Exit polls from November's contests also indicate that Republicans won the independent vote in New Jersey and Virginia.

The Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University poll was conducted January 20-21, the two days following the special election, with 880 people who voted in the contest questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Martha Coakley • Popular Posts • Scott Brown
soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. Alan

    Even after all of the evidence that the American people are opposed the the Dem agenda, Obama proudly said yesterday that he was going to keep fighting.

    I hope he does, maybe his pride will be his downfall.

    January 23, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in 1!

    Only 2 million people in a state where everyone HAS health insurance voted and only 1.1 voted for Brown there is no "referendum" on anything other than MA had a woody for Brown's pin-up shots.

    However, no drama, no draw, so I understand the media hype. Only about 8 million people out of 125 million potential voters, even cared enough to watch one of the cable channels. This is no "grass roots" revolt against President Obama.

    Only in the minds of the media moguls, cable bobble-heads and their drama queens and of course, the teabaggers is this of any importance.

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

    How quickly people forget who got us into this mess in the first place. Obama is not a miracle worker and he and his voters never said that he was. One year is not long enough to fix our country's problems. Don't vote the jerks who got us here in the first place back into office... idiots!

    January 23, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. Capt. Snarky

    Wow – they needed a poll to tell them the obvious? Maybe the President should poll the people to find that out too, because he still wants to ram his crappy agenda down our throats..........

    January 23, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Sue

    Actually, other national polls reflect the Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Democratic whoop'n a lot better.

    The MAJORITY in the country do NOT want the health care disaster, cap and tax, amnesty for illegals, terrorists given lawyers, terrorists brought on US soil for civilian trials, Gitmo closed, etc.

    As much as the MAJORITY was saying no-–Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and the Democrats said--we are going to do it anyways-–we don't care what you think, and we know better.

    Did anyone see the article/poll that was posted in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday as well??? This was from a AFL-CIO poll--and it showed that the majority of union worker households also voted for Brown-–49% to 46%

    January 23, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Ex-republican

    Shame on Massachusetts voters. YOU got healthcare via your state. The rest of America has nothing. And now YOUR candidate is going to prevent the rest of America from any sort of healthcare reform. Shame on you. Ive never had any reason to hate Massachusetts people. I do now.

    January 23, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. B

    Just great, elect this- Nude Model- because you are upset with what the President is doing...
    Next step, this idiot will destroy everything people have worked so hard for during the last 6o years in healthcare concerns!

    Absolutely outrageous !

    January 23, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Neo monarchist

    After reading the Washington Post article today I don't see how anyone, including CNN, can't KNOW that we have a treasonous gang in the White House. But continuing silence from CNN.

    January 23, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. stormerF

    Gosh and I thought it was Obamas behind the door secret dealings that was going to cost the people of Mass,more money for less service in their health care. Obamas cutting of medicare funds to pay for Obamacare,Raising of taxes,Or forcing people to buy health insurance. Are you sure it was anger? and not just the stupid health care bill Obama wanted to pass?

    January 23, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. MikeMc

    Nothing shows discontent like voting the same people into office that caused the problems in the first place...oh America so close yet soooo far!!!

    January 23, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Rasabu

    The concerns for Barack Obama should be:

    1. How to regain the support of independent voters dissatisfied with him because he is not progressive enough.
    2. How to gain the support of all of those Hillary Clinton Democrats who are dissatisfied with the status quo in the Democratic Party.
    3.How to regain the support of blue collar, middle class Democrats fed up because he is not dealing with the dire economic conditions in this country that disproportionately affect them.

    Regaining the support of these groups alone with even the playing field for the November election. After working on these issues, the President needs to address LGBTQI and women's issues to ensure the Democrats retain their seats in the Congress.

    These are not impossible things to do, but they do require the president focus his concerns on domestic issues, allow the SOS to focus on international relations, dumb Bernanke and fight like hell for the middle class.

    January 23, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Fitz in Texas

    Actually, I think it's more people are waking up as opposed to anger. They see that Obama wasn't truthful during his campaign and he and his administration are on a fast tract to destroying this country. Due to the fine folks that voted for Scott Brown we are on a path to taking this country back from the crooks in Washington.

    January 23, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. Mad as Heck....

    'We the People' have spoken.....
    The voters in Massachusetts sent a message loud and clear.

    To the politicians....
    It isn't IF you are a Democrat or a Republican....
    The politicians need to represent the voters... not the lobbyists and big business.
    This IS a 'wake-up' call for politicians........ for the people you have ignored are fighting back.

    If the politicians think that this is a coincidence... wait till the next election... it will be a shocker.

    January 23, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. Chris

    Notice how they never said they were *for* the Republicans either – those that's how the Right keeps spinning it. In the Right Black & White worldview, a vote against the Democrat's policies must be exactly the same as a vote in favor of the Republicans policies. From what I gather, the people are sick of all the nonsense in Washington, including the GOP's obstructionism and fear mongering.

    I'm an independent moderate. I don't really like all that the Democrats are doing neither. But the hardcore, ideological extremism, intolerance and blind absolutism that the Right Wing has descended into in the past decade is down right frightening. I hope the people of Mass. realize the error of the choice when their senator does absolutely nothing for them and only sit back and constantly votes "No" on every single issue the Democtrats try to work on – just like evey other GOP politician in Washington.

    January 23, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. Death Panel Sarah

    Most democrats have the unfortunate disease of 'Terminal Niceness'.
    They need to be more 'reptile-like' in this manner. Don't care who's toes you step on, just get done what is needed for the American PEOPLE!

    Of course, the reptili'con's only care about one thing.....green!(but money is multi-colored, now, isn't it?)

    January 23, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. eddie

    "narrowly defeated "???

    January 23, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. Michael

    How to tell CNN is biased again; "Brown narrowly defeated state attorney general Martha Coakley in the special election to fill the last three years of the term of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy."

    I live in Ma. and it was far from a narrow victory Brown beat Coakley by 110,000 votes.

    January 23, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    Where was all this "voter anger" when GW Bush was waging two irresponsible, badly executed wars?

    Where was this anger when – for the first time in American history! – GW Bush cut taxes on the wealthy during a time of war, skyrocketing the deficit?

    Where was this anger when the Republicans sat on their hands instead of doing something meaningful about health care reform?

    Where was this anger when the Republicans sat on their hands instead of doing something meaningful about creating true energy independence through the development of sustainable laternative energy?

    Where was this anger when the global financial market collapsed under the Republicans' watch?

    Where was this anger when GW Bush ignored explicit warnings about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden wanting to attack us – and they did, on September 11, 2001?

    People have such short memories! And the lack of patience to match.

    President Obama inherited a HUGE mess when he came to office. And his policies pulled us back from the brink of economic depression, the likes of which we haven't seen since 1929.

    It's going to take awhile to get our country back on track – and another pretty-faced Republican (Brown) who supports the same proven failed policies that got us into this mess in the first place is NOT going to help!

    January 23, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Maybe the economy would be better off if Republican governors didn't refuse stimulus money for their state – or if they did accept it, they didn't sit on it.

    GOO= Party Before Country

    January 23, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Ken

    Darn right we Independents are mad, and not just in Mass.

    I'm ready to throw Senator Ben Nelson out on his ear along with the entire Obama Administration

    January 23, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. mark

    What do you mean "narrowly defeated" Coakley. The Dem's were throwing in the towel three days BEFORE the election. It was a solid thumping.

    January 23, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. buckeye

    Time for a third party, or at least a second one since the Dems and Reps are simply two wings of the same bird of prey.

    January 23, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Eddie Alberts

    Interesting choice of words – I wouldn't say a 4% win is narrow defeat. If Coakley had won by the same margin, would you have said she trounced him? Trying to downplay the reasons why he won? Gotta love a non-biased point of view.

    January 23, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Mommyof3

    I think what probably annoys me more than anything is that everyone expects change to happen over night. This is politics and Washington D.C. we are talking about. Nothing happens quickly. Everyone is blaming the president for the current state of affairs when in reality, he's dealing with a congress and senate that have too many chips on their shoulders, too many big egos and too much to prove. Voters will continue to hand victories to the party not in the white house until we either end up in another civil war or implode. Either way, it's definitely time for change and I say the change should start by enacting term limits for all senators and congressmen. Politics shouldn't be a career, because when it becomes a career, corruption takes place and that is exactly what has happened.

    January 23, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    Let me guess: Brown will propose tax cuts for the wealthy to help our economy.

    Gee, if that really worked, then after all the years of Bush tax cuts our economy wouldn't have collapsed, now would it?

    Use your brains, folks! The wealthy take their precious tax cuts – and invest them overseas where labor is cheap and environmental regulation is non-existent!

    According to Brown and the Republicans, tax cuts for the wealthy solve all problems – HAH! Been there, done that – it doesn’t work!

    January 23, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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