Public Policy Polling was in the field again with another small-sample poll during the past few days, this time surveying potential match-ups against Massachusetts freshman Sen. Scott Brown (R). As you will remember, Brown, then a state Senator, won the January 2010 special election to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s unexpired final term in office. The seat is now in-cycle, so Brown will be running for his first full term.
The PPP poll sampled 500 Massachusetts voters over the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 period and found Brown to be beating every potential Democratic opponent, including Gov. Deval Patrick who was just re-elected to a second term last month. The new Senator’s job approval is a very respectable 53:29% positive to negative.
When paired with Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA-8), a man widely believed to soon become an official Senatorial candidate, Brown posts a strong 52-36% lead. The two Democrats who poll the best are Gov. Patrick and Vicki Kennedy, the late Senator’s widow. Brown leads both by seven points. His advantage is 49-42% against Patrick and 48-41% when opposing Mrs. Kennedy. Against lesser known potential opponents, Brown leads Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-9) 49-30% and enjoys a 49-39% advantage over veteran Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA-7).
In looking at the 10 Republican seats to be contested nationally in the 2012 election cycle, the Massachusetts campaign is commonly viewed to be at the forefront of the GOP vulnerability index. With President Obama leading the top of the ticket in 2012, the turnout model in the heavily Democratic state likely will be a problem for Brown. If these strong early polling numbers keep appearing, the new maverick Senator will be well-positioned to wage a strong fight to keep the seat he so impressively won early this year.