Senate races

Poll: Warren leads Sen. Brown, but faces challenges in Mass. Senate race

However, a plurality of those surveyed in the Boston Globe poll believe Brown will win the race come November.

{mosads}And in the breakdown, the numbers don’t pan out as well for Warren. She lags by 13 percent with voters who are unenrolled in a party, which makes up a large swath of Massachusetts — over 50 percent in 2010. And the poll indicates Warren needs to do more work than Brown to shore up her base, as 17 percent of registered Democrats still say they’re undecided, compared to only 7 percent of registered Republicans.

And Brown retains a substantial lead in likability, even after both candidates have shifted to a more negative strategy going into the last month and a half of the race. Fifty-eight percent of those polled believe he’s the most likable, compared to 27 percent who feel the same about Warren.

Brown’s likability is one of his main advantages, but in order to win, he’ll need to convince Massachusetts voters that he’s a true independent. He seems to largely be winning that argument, as a third of likely voters polled believe he votes independently, and only 20 percent believe he’s heavily influenced. He is considered, by more than a 2-1 margin, to be the candidate who would work best with the opposite party, as well.

But Warren leads on some of the issues central to her campaign. She’s considered the candidate who can best help working people, by a double-digit margin, and slightly more of those polled believe she’s the candidate who best understands people like them.

However, the poll gives a bit of evidence that the controversy surrounding Warren’s claims to Native American heritage could hamper her vote. Brown has accused Warren of playing up that heritage, for which she’s been unable to provide independent proof, to gain unfair advantages in her career. It’s become a central part of Brown’s offense against Warren, as his campaign frames it as an issue that casts doubt on Warren’s character and honesty.

Seventy-nine percent of voters say they’re somewhat or very familiar with that story, and nearly one-quarter of all likely voters polled say the story makes them less likely to vote for her.

Drilling deep into the numbers may somewhat undermine the sunny top-line results for Warren, but they do seem to confirm a trend shown in most recent polls of the race, all but one of which put her ahead of Brown. It’s a difficult position for an incumbent senator just six weeks out from the election, but the Boston Globe poll indicates there’s considerable room for him to move ahead.

The poll was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center among 502 likely voters from Sept. 21-27, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.


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