As Scott Brown's first year in the Senate comes to a close he remains an extremely formidable political presence and leads five hypothetical 2012 reelection opponents by margins ranging anywhere from 7 to 19 points.
Vicki Kennedy (48-41) and Deval Patrick (49-42) do the best against Brown, each trailing by 7 points. Ed Markey trails by 10 (49-39), Mike Capuano does by 16 (52-36), and Stephen Lynch does by 19 (49-30).
Brown is one of the most popular Senators in the country, with 53% of voters approving of his job performance and only 29% disapproving. He continues to have incredible appeal to independents, with whom his approval spread is 61/25.
I've referenced Senate Democrats' grim 2012 calculus on a number of occasions, but this (admittedly very premature) poll compels me to circle back to the subject. Republicans will have only 10 upper-chamber seats up in the next cycle; Democrats will defend 23. The early conventional wisdom suggests that the two toughest GOP holds will be in Maine (where Olympia Snowe's spokesman is strongly denying retirement rumors), and in Massachusetts. These PPP numbers should at least toss some cold water on national Democrats' emerging assumption that Brown's* will be a relatively painless pick up.
Have fun, Patty Murray!
*Snarky comment preemption: It's not Scott Brown's seat. It's the people's seat.