Republican Scott Brown leads Democrat Martha Coakley 51 percent to 46 percent with 4 percent undecided in a tight race to fill the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy that will be decided in a Tuesday special election, according to a Public Policy Polling survey
conducted Jan. 16-17. The margin of error is 2.8 points and PPP says "other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify."
The poll was conducted before President Obama's trip to Boston today to try to energize Democrats behind Coakley who has seen a once-large lead either greatly reduced in some polls and wiped out in others.
Brown is seen favorably by 56 percent of voters and unfavorably by 37 percent, with 7 percent undecided. Coakley is seen unfavorably by 51 percent and favorably by 44 percent with 6 percent undecided. Sixty-eight percent of independents see Brown favorably compared to 31 percent for Coakley. Brown has a big lead among independents and is poaching 19 percent of Democratic voters while Coakley attracts only 9 percent of Republicans
Coakley has drawn criticism for conducting the lackluster campaign of a presumed frontrunner, while Brown campaigned around the state in his black pickup truck, seeking to capitalize on voter frustration with the hardships of the long economic downturn and concerns about the health care reform package moving through Congress.
Fifty-six percent said Brown made a strong argument for electing him to the Senate compared to 36 percent who thought he didn't, with 8 percent undecided. Fifty-one percent said they did not think Coakley made a strong argument for herself compared to 41 percent who felt she did, with 8 percent undecided. Sixty-seven percent of independents said Brown had made a strong argument and while only 29 percent said Coakley did.
The poll found that 89 percent of Republicans were very excited about the race compared to 68 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats, something that could be a factor if the special election draws a low turnout.
Democrats made up 39 percent of the sample in the poll, while independents accounted for 44 percent and Republicans for 17 percent.
"Brown has a small advantage right now but special elections are unusually volatile and
Martha Coakley is certainly still in this," said PPP's Dean Debnam. "She just needs to get more Democrats out to the polls."
The other polls:
American Research Group: Brown 48 percent, Coakley 45 percent
Suffolk University/7 News: Brown 50 percent, Coakley 46 percent
Rasmussen Reports: Coakley 49 percent, Brown 47 percent
Boston Globe: Coakley 50 percent, Brown 35 percent
Public Policy Polling: Brown 48 percent, Coakley 47 percent
Research 2000: Coakley 49 percent, Brown 41 percent