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Mass. support for US Sen. Brown, Warren about even

October 2, 2011

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BOSTON—A new poll released Sunday shows Massachusetts voter support for Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, would be about even if they were the choices in the 2012 Senate race.

The UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll showed Brown getting 41 percent of the vote and Warren receiving 38 percent, signaling a close race more than a year out.

Warren, a consumer advocate, also was the strong favorite of the six Democratic candidates when pollsters surveyed potential Democratic primary voters. She garnered 36 percent of the vote while none of the other five got more than 5 percent.

Democrats have targeted Brown's seat since his surprising win over Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley after Sen. Edward Kennedy served for almost 50 years before he died of brain cancer in 2009.

The poll surveyed 1,005 registered voters in Massachusetts by landline and cell phone from Sept. 22 through Sept. 28. The margin of error was 3.8 percentage points, higher for smaller samples such as potential Democratic primary voters.

Other findings include:

--52 percent favorably viewed Brown, but 37 percent were dissatisfied with Republican policies overall in Congress.

--37 percent said they hadn't heard of Warren.

In hypothetical presidential contests, President Barack Obama got 62 percent support of the registered Massachusetts voters while 25 percent favored Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Between Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the poll results were 57 percent for Obama and 33 percent for Romney.

Princeton Survey Research Associates International and Braun Research Inc. carried out the survey for the newspaper and the university. The paper and UMass Lowell's Center for Public Opinion also will host a debate among the Democratic candidates Tuesday on campus.