January 15th, 2010
11:50 AM ET
13 years ago

Poll: Too close to call in Massachusetts senate race

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/15/art.browncoakley.gi.jpg caption="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. A.D.

    It is a blessing and a curse that we as Americans have such a short memory. We are just a year removed from one of the worst Administrations in history and here we stand ready to put them back in power. Perhaps this must have been the way it was before Rome met its end.

    January 15, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. dg

    coakley is an idiot , she will screw things up just like the libs continue to do...brown is the one

    January 15, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. LacrosseMom

    I sincerely hope that Coakley and her thugs lose in a landslide...

    BROWN... please assume the seat and help see that this healthcare "reform" garbage is done once and for all.

    Palin/Robertson 2012

    January 15, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. Marcelle

    I will be voting for Martha Coakley. I want health care for America and the republicans have shown me that they are not interested in reforming health care and did not have any real solutions. I will never vote for a republican again after how they've conducted themselves during health care reform.

    GO Martha Coakley!!

    January 15, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Steve

    "The GOP is a cancer on America. I'm leaving before it eats this nation alive."

    Ok, will everyone who has been threatening to "leave the country" every time something doesn't go your way politically just LEAVE already so the rest of us can get on with it?

    Imagine if everyone who threatened to leave during George Bush's reign had left before the 2008 elections. They would not have been here as loyal subjects to celebrate the reign of H.R.H. Barack Obama... In fact, he might never have been coronated.

    Stop being such a baby. Stop threatening. Just leave. Please. Leave today. We'll all be better off.

    January 15, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Duh

    If obama is for her, then I'm against her. pelosi and reid will burn their butts up trying to get this tragedy of unfair taxation passed before brown can take office. Hey I have an idea, why doesn't everyone quit their jobs and live off welfare and get free healthcare and depend on our glorious leaders to provide every little thing we ever need to be happy, then we can give up our rights, ambitions,cars, guns and freedom and live happily ever after in communistic euphoria in the belief that global warming (which never was anyway, just gore's moneymaker) has been stopped and the little monkeys in the rain forests can mate without worry of human interference.What a beautiful world this would be.

    January 15, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. lightningbolt1

    No one is voting no to health reform.We are voting no, to this legislation that doesn't do anything to REFORM healthcare.We are voting no, to bribes,extortion,pay-offs and criminal activity in our government.We are wanting our so called leaders to listen to the people, debate and come up with the solutions we need in every state. equally, fairly,and in line with our country't Constitution and Bill of Rights.We are saying no, to special deals to unions and businesses that lobby and put money in political coffers.We are voting no, because we wanted real change from Washington politics, not make it the worst its ever been. My hats off to the people of Mass. on remembering what this country stands for.For remembering we are all better off when our leaders use the right methods and due process to pass legislation.Lets find the change, we all want, starting tuesday.

    January 15, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. D. Bunker

    Sad as it is to say, the Dems need to start running better candidates who aren't beholden to corporate money and favors received earlier in their political career.

    OTOH, anyone who thinks the party of Bush, Cheney, Palin and GIngrich would be an improvement is in serious need of mental health treatment.

    January 15, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. mjm

    Surged dramatically ahead....is how they put it. 50% to 46%.

    As opposed to CNN's "too close to call.."

    Of course there are always the absentee ballots (wink, wink) that ALWAYS seem to go the Democrats way depending on how many votes they need to win...just ask Franken

    January 15, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. EJ

    Maybe this will be the end of Pelosi/Reid and their do-nothing politics. Dems are the party of NO – they promise, promise, promise and what do you see? NO change!

    January 15, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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