PPP's newest poll on the Massachusetts Senate race finds Scott Brown opening up a 5 point lead, 49-44. This is the first time Brown has led in one of our polls since June of 2011. Our last poll, in June of this year, found a tie and the two before that had modest leads for Elizabeth Warren.
Brown continues to do well because of his personal popularity and because voters see him as different from the Republican Party as a whole. 53% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 36% who disapprove. Incumbents with those kinds of approval numbers generally don't lose. Brown's approval has improved a net 14 points from March when he was at +3 (45/42). Warren's numbers are headed in the other direction. On that poll her favorability was 46/33 and now it's 46/43- her negatives have risen 10 points over the last five months while her positives have remained unchanged.
Massachusetts voters see the GOP as a whole as being extreme- 56% think it's too conservative to only 27% who consider it to be 'about right.' But they don't feel that way about Brown- just 30% think he's too conservative to 54% who believe he's 'about right' ideologically. 30% of voters who think Brown's too conservative is less than the 41% who think that Warren is too liberal. Additionally 49% regard Brown more as someone who has been 'an independent voice for Massachusetts' compared to 38% who feel he's been more a 'partisan voice for the national Republican Party.'
Brown has the lead on Warren thanks to a 58-32 advantage with independents, comparable to what he won against Martha Coakley in 2010. He has Republicans strongly unified around him (91-7) and he's pulling a pretty decent amount of Democratic support, 20%, with just 73% of her party's voters committed to Warren at this point.
The race remains close but Scott Brown is proving to be pretty resilient despite his state's heavily Democratic electorate.
Full results here