LV Poll: Brown Ahead One Day Before Final MA Senate Debate

Daniel Doherty

10/29/2012 1:35:00 PM - Daniel Doherty

Boston, MA -- Regular readers need only take a quick glance at Townhall.com’s Poll Tracker average to see that Elizabeth Warren -- the Democratic Senate candidate for Massachusetts -- leads incumbent Senator Scott Brown in virtually every survey conducted (except one) over the last three weeks. To make matters worse, last week the polling firm Rasmussen Reports changed the status of the race from “Toss-Up” to “Leans Democratic” -- a disheartening development for Senator Brown and his team of supporters. But after weeks of non-stop campaigning across the state, it seems that his hard work and carefully crafted messaging is finally paying off: A new Boston Globe poll released Monday shows the Republican holding a modest, albeit statistically insignificant, lead:

A new Boston Globe poll shows the race between Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren in a dead heat, with ample opportunity for both candidates to win the nation’s most expensive Senate race eight days from now.

The survey indicates Brown holds a razor-thin 45 percent to 43 percent lead over Warren among likely voters, well within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. Brown’s lead evaporates, with 47 percent for each candidate, when voters who are undecided are asked which candidate they are leaning toward.

The poll is a reversal from a September Globe survey that showed Warren ahead 43 percent to 38 percent, as well as several other recent polls that have found Warren with a slight lead. The shift underscores the belief long held by both sides that the race, active for more than a year, would be competitive until the end.

Both candidates suspended all campaign events on Monday due to the impending hurricane projected to make landfall sometime Monday night. Yesterday, Governor Patrick called a state of emergency, closed all Boston public schools, and urged non-essential government workers to stay home on Monday. That being said, as of this writing, Tuesday’s much-anticipated sparring match has not been postponed:

The poll comes a day ahead of what is supposed to be the candidates’ fourth and final debate, scheduled for Tuesday evening. Debate sponsors, a media consortium including the Globe, have not made a decision whether to postpone or cancel the debate, as the full effects of Hurricane Sandy on the region are not yet known

The results from this survey will certainly breathe new life into Senator Brown’s re-election efforts. But it’s important to take these numbers with a grain of salt. In the weeks before the January 2010 Special Election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, a number of respected pollsters released surveys that were grossly inaccurate. Why? Because (1) about 50 percent of the Massachusetts electorate are not aligned with any political party and (2) it’s impossible to predict voter turnout. These are two ingredients, so to speak, for a highly volatile election.

The only thing one can say with 100 percent certainty is that this race is close -- perhaps the closest Senate horserace in the entire country. Thus, I cannot emphasize enough – that is, if the weather holds out -- how important tomorrow night’s fourth and final debate will be.

Update: The Brown campaign announced Monday that Senator Brown will not participate in tomorrow evening's debate "out of concern for the hardship faced by people in the path of Hurricane Sandy."