PPP's newest Massachusetts poll finds two races going in opposite directions- Mitt Romney's cut Barack Obama's lead to its smallest level in the state all year. But at the same time Elizabeth Warren's built her advantage out to the widest margin we've ever found.
Warren leads Scott Brown 50-44. The big change over the last month is that Brown's image is finally starting to take a hit. His approval rating is now a +7 spread at 49/42, down a net 14 points from mid-September when he was at 55/34. There's an increasing sense that he's been more a partisan voice for the national Republican Party (45%) than an independent voice for Massachusetts (44%). That's a 10 point shift from our last poll when voters thought 49/40 that he'd been more of an independent voice.
The biggest thing that continues to make it very hard for Brown to win this race is that 52% of voters in the state want Democrats to have control of the US Senate to 35% who want the Republicans in control. Warren is now winning the Democratic vote 82/13, erasing most of the crossover support that Brown had earlier in the year.
Republicans have been very consistent in referring to Elizabeth Warren as a professor over the last year but that may not be the best framing. 57% of Massachusetts voters have a favorable opinion of college professors to 19% with a negative one. The breakdown is 79/5 among Democrats, but GOP voters do have a negative opinion of professors with 33% rating them favorably to 42% with a unfavorable opinion.
In the Presidential race Barack Obama's seeing the same kind of decline in Massachusetts that he is nationally. He leads Mitt Romney by 14 points, 55-41. That's down from an 18 point lead last month, and it's the smallest advantage we've found for him in the state all year. The big shift over the last month in Massachusetts has been among independent voters. They now support Romney 53-40, after giving Obama a 47-44 edge last month.
Others notes from Massachusetts:
-Ballot initiatives on assisted suicide (56/30) and medical marijuana (57/31) continue to lead comfortably for passage. Democrats and independents heavily support both measures. Republicans narrowly favor the assisted suicide one, but narrowly oppose the medical marijuana one.
-Deval Patrick has a 48/38 approval rating. Massachusetts voters think he was a better Governor than Romney by a 50/41 margin.
-John Kerry has a 49/36 approval rating. If he runs for reelection in 2014 he has a 53-32 lead over a generic Republican opponent.
Full results here