Poll: Brown leads likely competition to replace Kerry in Senate

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is in good shape to win another special election if Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) leaves the Senate to take over at the State Department, according to a poll released Thursday.


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Forty-seven percent of the registered Massachusetts voters surveyed would vote for Brown, while 39 percent would vote for a generic Democratic challenger, according to the WBUR poll.


The outgoing Sen. Brown, a popular centrist Republican, won his Senate seat in a special election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) but lost his reelection bid in November to Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren (D). 

Kerry is considered the most likely candidate to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, and Brown is well-positioned to fill his empty seat.

But the competition in the race would likely be fierce, with Democratic Reps. Edward Markey, Mike Capuano and Stephen Lynch reportedly interested.

Brown beat all three by between 17 and 19 points in hypothetical match-ups, according to the poll. 

He led Capuano by 47 percent to 28, Markey by 48 percent to 30, Lynch by 51 percent to 24, and former Rep. Marty Meehan by 49 percent to 30.

Edward Kennedy Jr., the son of the late senator, and actor-director Ben Affleck have also been named as possibilities to run as Democratic candidates, but were not included in the poll. 

Despite losing his bid against Warren, Brown is still highly popular in his state, with 58 percent of those polled holding a favorable view of him and just 28 percent viewing him unfavorably.

A special election to replace Kerry would be held in Massachusetts in the late spring or early summer, and the empty Senate seat would be filled until then by the Democratic governor's appointee. 

The WBUR poll, conducted by the MassINC Polling Group over two days earlier this week, surveyed 500 registered voters in the state, the majority self-identifying as independent voters, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.