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Tipsheet

Brown is Back: Elizabeth Warren Trails by 9 Points in MA Senate Race

According to the latest Suffolk University poll (which, incidentally, is only the second survey conducted since Christmas concerning the Massachusetts Senate race), Republican Scott Brown leads the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee by a decisive margin:

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A new poll of the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race shows incumbent Sen. Scott Brown with a 9-point lead over Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, a strong showing for the senator in what is expected to be among the most hotly contested 2012 races.

Brown was the choice of 49 percent of respondents, versus only 40 percent for the Harvard professor who served as a consumer protection adviser for President Obama, according to the poll from Suffolk University/7News.

That represents a dramatic swing from a December UMass Lowell/Boston Herald Poll that had Warren up by 7 percent. A WBUR poll earlier this month showed Warren with a 3 percent edge.

Considering polling in the Bay State has been sporadic over the last several months, the numbers suggest Team Brown is ushering in some much-needed momentum. To be sure, he’s trailed the former Harvard professor in every poll conducted since last September. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to learn that his polling numbers today have almost reached historic highs.

In some ways, however, the Massachusetts Senate race will be similar to the 2012 presidential election – namely, independent voters will ultimately decide the contest. Thus, since more than half of the Bay State electorate register as Independents, if Senator Brown can maintain support amongst this crucial voting bloc he stands a strong chance of winning reelection. What’s more, according to the survey, 52 percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of the incumbent Senator, whereas only 35 percent have a favorable opinion of Elizabeth Warren. In short, it seems Scott Brown is much more popular in his home state than previous polls have indicated.

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Until recently, perhaps, one of the major points of contention between both candidates was how to revamp the American economy and create jobs. Today, however, Senator Brown’s decision to support a Senate amendment that would allow religious affiliated institutions to deny women morally objectionable medical procedures is raising eyebrows in the Bay State. As a result, Scott Brown published an op-ed in the Boston Herald on Friday outlining his position. And, as Ed Morrissey over at HotAir points out, this is not the typical position of a Massachusetts moderate.

Republicans and Democrats don’t come together nearly enough these days, and when we do it’s usually because of something we all recognize as clearly out of line. It takes a really bad idea to reveal our shared convictions on issues bigger than politics. That is the case with the new mandate from the Obama administration requiring religious organizations to offer insurance coverage for practices that go against the teachings of their church, violate the tenets of their faith and step on their constitutional protections.

Basically the government is saying, “Just do what you’re told, and leave the moral questions to us.” This runs against religious liberty, the Constitution, the consciences of millions of Americans and the independent spirit of Massachusetts. We don’t take well to imperious commands from Washington, and if we meekly submit to this mandate, you can be sure that a lot more will follow.

It was right here in Plymouth, after all, that pilgrims from Europe established a colony because of religious persecution. That tradition runs so deep that my predecessor, Sen. Ted Kennedy, believed just as I do: Religious liberty requires a conscience exemption in health care for Catholics and people of other faiths.

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