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. Albo58

    So I guess all the protest marches, tea party gatherings, emails/phone calls/and faxes from constituencies WEREN'T just a few radicals that didn't like the color of our President after all! This President and the "leadership" in the House/Senate have now discovered that is We the People that they work for and WE aren't pleased with their performance of the last year. Matter of fact, a lot of incumbents from both parties are going feel some more of our anger and disappointment in November. Term limits NOW!

    January 23, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Paul H

    I didn't even mention how the health care reform that they want is just more government take over, and not the real reform we all need, such as lower cost, and real insurance over haul.

    January 23, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. LAW

    The article states: "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."

    Er, CNN,....Five percentage points is a solid and unquestionable result for the victor. Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so to must be election results. If a Democrat would have won in such a race you would have called it a resounding mandate.

    January 23, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Texas Jack

    Voter anger will not have cooled off come 2010 elections. We are voting incumbents out. IT IS TAKE BACK AMERICA TIME. GET WORRIED GANGSTERS.

    January 23, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Mr.T

    Why are people so upset with Oboma and his team.He said he was going to bring change.That it would not be politics as usaual.

    January 23, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Perusing-through


    Massachusetts Liberals and Progressives that pushed Obama into presidency in 2008 did not come out strong for Martha Coakley in January 2010. Many registered Democrats were offended by Martha's "take them for granted" posture. Also, many Democrats did not vote as statement to punish Obama and the Democrats for not fighting harder for their progressive causes.

    So what we have here for at least the next year is Congressional deadlock, and again nothing will get done as the 41st Republican GOP Obstructionist takes his seat in the Senate. Everybody loses.

    January 23, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Dave

    Don't bother trying to convince CNN and the liberal Main-stream-media, they still will insist it's all about a bad candidate and continue to encourage the Dems to commit political suicide trying to push leftist, and yes SOCIALIST, programs down the American's throats.

    Keep it up, Dems! The Wave is coming for you in Nov 2010!

    January 23, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Steven

    Yes, bring back the Rethuglicans because they did such an awesome job holding the economy together the last time.

    January 23, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. musician

    According to a poll I saw, many of the voters in Massachusetts were dissatisfied with the Obama Administration because they were not liberal enough or aggressive enough... a very important distinction to make if you`re looking at how to win back the base!

    January 23, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. JR

    Last year people were angry at republicans and voted them out, this year people are angry at democrats and will vote them out and I guess we'll be playing this game of ping pong until people start actually thinking before they vote, but don't hold your breath.

    January 23, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. jeannie latimer

    How many articles are there going to be on this....honestly, we get it...how about moving on to something constructive. Frankly, hearing about how mad people are and how Republicans and Democrats are going to stand each other off isn't getting anything done. 3 more years of paralysis in Congress and hearing how each party is blocking the other one from their agendas....can't wait.

    January 23, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. hongli

    Scott Brown is the biggest "CLOWN" in town.

    January 23, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. Indy

    So basically his win had nothing to do with his abilities,qualifications,issues or his reputation. Nice, he must be so proud to win on nothing of his accomplishments.

    January 23, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Cheryl

    maybe someone is listening to the electorate – finally!

    January 23, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Lisa - VA

    Give it a REST CNN...when the people of Masschusetts realizes WHAT they have sent to Washington to speak for them – they will vote him out just like that. Remember alot can happen in two years.

    January 23, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Joe

    I love this articale. "Brown Narrowly defeated Coakly" There was nothing Narrow about the defeat. Brown won by 5% points. and over 100,000 votes In Mass. Eventually, we will have equity in the media. Take a look at CNN ratings compared to Fox. I guess under CNN's guidlines that too would be a narrow victory for FOX eventhough the viewership is 6 to 1 infavor of Fox. Gotta love it

    January 23, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. GuyInVA

    Anger, yes, but I saw President Obama on TV with George Stephanopolous. The president said it wasn't anger over just the last 1 or 2 years, but anger over the last 8 years. So, in his world, the people of one of the most (if not the most) liberal state in the U.S. elected a republican and near clone of Bush because they were angry at Bush. I don't know if that is arrogance or dementia.

    January 23, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. ToGetherWeStand

    Oh, no! Another poll.

    I do share the frustration of my fellow Americans, but going back to a total GOP control of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches will lead us back into the Dark Ages of G. W. Bush years.

    Yes, I still blame the GOP for the mess we are in; I can still remember.

    January 23, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |

    Now, come on CNN, a 52 to 47% win is not a "narrow" victory – especially when you called a similar victory by Obama a "land-slide" over a year ago. Could it be you have a democratic-leaning agenda in your reporting? I wished that all the news agencies would reduce the "spin" and just report the facts – yes that includes Fox News and all the others. We are not only sick of politicians that don't listen but also the biased media on both sides of the issue. Get out of the business of influencing politics and get back to honest reporting!!

    January 23, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Anita R.

    One-party Democratic control is drastically harming our country and our future. The Dems deserve to have their butts kicked! Go Scott Brown!

    January 23, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. JD

    Take note, Dems. This is precisely what happens when you try to ram your unpopular socialist programs that the MAJORITY of Americans oppose down our collective throats.

    This is what you get when you refuse to listen to Americans and instead refer to them derisively as "astroturf" and "tea-baggers."

    This is what happens when you blow all your political capital by catering to the non-producers of our nation instead of allowing businesses to flourish and create jobs (including health care benefits!) for hard-working Americans.

    And let us not forget that this is what happens when you spend more time bowing before our nation's detractors and giving our avowed enemies more rights than the Americans they seek to kill.

    Scott Brown is just the start of the landslide revolution that will sweep these national socialists from power in 2010 and 2012!

    January 23, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Annette Grant

    I think Massachusetts will regret this.....but they are more conservative than CNN or other sites state. I think they have their dumb healthcare because they were suckered by Romney and pay too much for it. They need to blame the Rethugs for that. But to make sure the rest of the country do not have access to "affordable" healthcare and I did not say "free" healthcare which is what many get now because they do not have to pay for it. The healthcare industry made off in Massachusetts care....more people and higher costs....a dream for Mitt.....

    Not too smart Massachusetts....

    January 23, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. rosslaw

    Yeah, let's relect the folks who put the economy into free fall and were losing the war in Afghanistan while allowing that country for the last eight years to maintain its status as the world's number 1 source of illegal opium. Plus, leaving a United States military that at the end of the Bush Administration was "on the verge of collapse", according to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey. That should fix things just fine!

    January 23, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. abraham yeret

    Brown narrowly defeated over 100.000 vots what our you drinking ??????? in Massachusetts it is a lnad slide

    January 23, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Mark

    It's a shame obama won't listen to the people, he thinks he knows better than us. One good thing he will never get any progressive legislation passed while he is president.

    Three years from now we get a new president!!!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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