(CNN) – Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic frontrunner in the Massachusetts Senate race, is even with or ahead of incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown, according to a new poll.
The UMass Amherst Poll released Thursday showed Warren with a four percentage point advantage over Brown among registered voters. Warren received 43% to Brown's 39%, figures within the survey's 4.4% sampling error.
Warren drew strong support from women, middle-to-low income residents and younger voters, while Brown obtained greater backing from independent voters, besting Warren by 18 percentage points.
When asked to describe the candidates with one word, registered voters labeled Warren, the Harvard professor and former consumer advocate in the Obama administration, most often as "liberal" and "socialist." "Moderate" was the word used most often to describe Brown, who was elected in a special election in 2010 following the death of Senate stalwart Ted Kennedy.
A similar poll released in October showed the two candidates locked in a statistical dead heat, with Brown edging out Warren 41% to 38%, within that survey's 3.8% sampling error.
The contest has garnered national attention following Warren's September entry into the race, with significant funds flowing into the state.
Non-partisan political handicappers Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg list the race as a toss-up and it is sure to be a contentious race in the next election cycle especially if Warren wins the Democratic primary as expected.
The December poll questioned 500 Massachusetts adults between Nov. 9 and Nov. 22 with a sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.