Elizabeth Warren has had an incredibly successful launch to her Senate campaign and actually leads Scott Brown now by a 46-44 margin, erasing what was a 15 point deficit the last time we polled the state in early June.
Warren's gone from 38% name recognition to 62% over the last three months and she's made a good first impression on pretty much everyone who's developed an opinion about her during that period of time. What was a 21/17 favorability rating in June is now 40/22- in other words she's increased the voters with a positive opinion of her by 19% while her negatives have risen only 5%.
The surprising movement toward Warren has a lot to do with her but it also has a lot to do with Scott Brown. We now find a slight plurality of voters in the state disapproving of him- 45%, compared to only 44% approving. We have seen a steady decline in Brown's numbers over the last 9 months. In early December his approval was a +24 spread at 53/29. By June it had declined to a +12 spread at a 48/36. And now it's continued that fall to its current place.
Brown's position has always been a little tenuous as a Republican in a strongly Democratic state, making him very dependent on the support of Obama voters to stay above ground. In June he was at 72/17 with McCain voters and now he's at 74/18, pretty much the same. But with Obama voters he's gone from 35/48 to 27/62, accounting for the entire drop in his overall approval numbers. It's a similar story when you look at the horse race numbers. Last time Brown led Warren 87-6 with McCain voters and now it's 87-9. But with Obama voters Warren's turned what was only a 47-24 lead into a 68-20 one.
Despite his difficulties with Warren, Brown does continues to hold a wide advantage over the rest of the Democratic field. He's up 15 points on Alan Khazei at 48-33, 15 on Setti Warren as well at 47-32, 18 on Bob Massie at 49-31, and 19 on Tom Conroy at 50-31. The non-Elizabeth Warren Democratic contenders have only 19-36% name recognition so they could conceivably become more competitive if one of them were to win the nomination and become better known- but primary numbers we'll release later this week show that the contest for the Democratic nod might be over before it's even really started.
There are positive signs for Brown in the poll. 47% of voters still consider him to be more an 'independent voice for Massachusetts' than the 41% who think he's been more focused on being 'a partisan voice for the national Republican Party.' And 45% of voters still consider him ideologically 'about right' compared to just 38% who think think he's 'too conservative.' He's running 35 points ahead of the Republican Party as a whole on that question- 56% of Massachusetts voters think it's 'too conservative' and only 29% think it's 'about right.' Still Brown isn't seen to be in the ideological mainstream to quite the extent he had been previously- his about right/too conservative spread was 50/33 on our June poll and 53/33 on our December poll.
This poll was taken over the weekend right after a week of positive press surrounding Warren's candidacy announcement. It's possible that gave her a bounce that may recede some in the coming weeks. But that doesn't change Brown's falling approval numbers- this looks like it will be a highly competitive race.
Full results here