Poll: Scott Brown enjoys leads over all would-be challengers

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) owns a commanding lead versus a variety of possible Democratic opponents to his reelection bid next year.

The freshman Republican would best a variety of Democrats by healthy margins if the election were held today, said a Suffolk University poll.

Brown would beat Joe Kennedy, the former congressman and son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), 45-40 percent, the poll found. Kennedy is the Democrat who polls best against Brown, who won a special election last January in an upset victory, filling the former senator's seat through 2012.

The closest any other Democrat comes to Brown in the poll is 15 points down.

In a match-up against Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), 52 percent would support Brown and 37 percent would back Patrick.

Two Massachusetts congressmen, Reps. Michael Capuano (D) and Edward Markey (D), each poll at 26 percent against Brown, who'd win 52 percent of the vote against either.

Brown would also best Lt. Gov. Tim Murray (D), 51-23 percent, and eclipse Newton Mayor Setti Warren, 52-9 percent (with 32 percent undecided).

The Republican senator is one of Democrats' top targets in 2012. Massachusetts is a typically blue state; Brown is the only Republican member of the state's congressional delegation.

But he's also sought to stake out a relatively centrist record during his time in the Senate, perhaps mindful of the tough reelection he'll face next fall. Regardless of the eventual nominee, Brown's advantage could evaporate as voters familiarize themselves with the eventual Democratic candidate.

In the meantime, Brown's looking to build a major war chest to fend off challengers. He reported raising $1.7 million during the first quarter of 2011, which leaves him with $8.3 million in cash on hand, a total that's only likely to grow.

The Suffolk poll, conducted April 3-5, has a 4.4 percent margin of error.