Daniel Doherty
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A new PPP poll released today shows Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) edging Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren by five percentage points:

Republican Sen. Scott Brown leads Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, according to a new poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling.

Brown leads Warren 49 percent to 44 percent. The survey of 1,115 likely voters was conducted Aug. 16-19, and has a 2.9 percent margin of error. In the previous survey from late June, the two were tied of 46 percent apiece.

This survey is significant for at least three reasons: (1) Unlike the findings from the June PPP survey, in which the results were gleaned from a sample of 902 registered voters (which, incidentally, showed Brown and Warren essentially locked in a dead heat) this survey polled 1115 likely voters. This seemingly trivial yet important distinction matters, of course, because likely voters are much more inclined to vote on Election Day. (2) Scott Brown is converting independents in droves. In fact, he leads his Democratic challenger by a whopping 26 percentage points among this crucially-important voting bloc. And since, according to the pollsters, about half (48 percent) of the Massachusetts electorate is comprised of non-party affiliated voters, Scott Brown’s comfortable double-digit lead is clearly a leading indicator of how this segment may vote. (3) Massachusetts voters are “still more concerned that Warren is too liberal (41%) than that Brown is too conservative (30%).” Why? Well, for starters, Professor Warren reportedly supports raising taxes on Massachusetts businesses to the tune of $3.4 trillion over the next ten years, sincerely believes (and once asserted) that “there is nobody in this country who got rich on [their] own,” while gleefully (and immodestly) claiming she created the “intellectual foundation” for the radical Occupy Wall Street movement. Put simply, it’s not surprising (is it?) that some Bay State voters are a bit concerned about her, ahem, progressive inclinations.

Still, Ms. Warren’s high-profile speech at the Democratic National Convention in September will increase her name recognition and help fill her campaign coffers. On the other hand, if Scott Brown can stay on message -- and convincingly persuade voters that the economic policies he advocates will bring more jobs and prosperity to the Bay State than his challenger’s -- I think he stands a very good chance of returning to the United States Senate in 2013.

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Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography