Warren opens up lead on incumbent Brown

Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren has taken a 7-percentage-point lead over incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), according to a new poll, buoying prospects for the Harvard professor.

Warren garnered the support of 49 percent of registered voters surveyed, compared to 42 percent for Brown, according to the poll released Wednesday by the Boston Herald and University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Those numbers represent substantial gains for Warren, who trailed Brown 41 percent to 38 percent in a similar poll in October.

While Warrens 10-point-swing is troubling for the Brown campaign in its own right, perhaps even more troubling is that the senators favorability and approval ratings have also dropped substantially. Over the past two months, Browns job approval rating has slipped from 53 percent to 45 percent, while only 48 percent say they have a favorable view of their senator. That number is down from 52 percent in September.

Those who have an unfavorable view of Brown have ticked up from 29 percent to 35 percent over the same period.

Still, those numbers to some extent are simply a byproduct of an increasingly tough campaign. Warrens unfavorability numbers have also jumped — 9 points from 18 percent to 27 percent in September. 

Still, Warrens favorability ratings have gone up 4 points, and she is becoming a better-known entity in the Bay State — only 23 percent say they have not heard of her, down from 37 percent in September.

The majority of Warrens support is coming from women and younger voters, while the candidates essentially split male respondents.

But, in an encouraging sign for Brown, he still leads Warren in independents by 16 percentage points. Still, Brown will have to build on that lead to remain competitive in heavily Democratic Massachusetts.

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