Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat may fall to Republicans after more than fifty years of Democrats holding the seat — Democratic control of Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat dates back to 1953, when the elder John F. Kennedy held the position.
According to the latest Public Policy poll, Republican state senator Scott Brown leads Democratic state attorney general Martha Coakley by five points, 51-46 percent. The poll notes that the lead is within the margin of error but reflects other recent polls showing Brown has a slim lead over Coakley.
Brown leads among independents, crucial to a Republican victory in Massachusetts, where registered Democrats hold a 3-1 edge over registered Republicans. The poll notes, however, that “Democratic leaning voters have started to take more interest in the election, a trend that if it continues in the final 36 hours of the campaign could put her over the finish line.”
In the interest of drumming up Democratic support, President Barack Obama toured the state on Sunday.
Other highlights from the poll:
– Brown is up 64-32 with independents and is winning 20% of the vote from people who supported Barack Obama in 2008 while Coakley is getting just 4% of the McCain vote.
-Brown’s voters continue to be much more enthusiastic than Coakley’s. 80% of his say they’re ‘very excited’ about voting Tuesday while only 60% of hers express that sentiment. But the likely electorate now reports having voted for Barack Obama by 19 points, up from 16 a week ago, and a much smaller drop from his 26 point victory in the state than was seen in Virginia.
-Those planning to turn out continue to be skeptical of the Democratic health care plan, saying they oppose it by a 48/40 margin.
-Coakley’s favorability dropped from 50% to 44% after a week filled with perceived missteps. Brown’s negatives went up a lot but his positives only actually went from 57% to 56%, an indication that attacks against him may have been most effective with voters already planning to support Coakley but ambivalent toward Brown.
-56% of voters in the state think Brown has made a strong case for why he should be elected while just 41% say the same of Coakley. Even among Coakley’s supporters only 73% think she’s made the argument for herself, while 94% of Brown’s supporters think he has.
The special election held to fill the seat formerly occupied by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) is to be held Tuesday.