Scott Brown in Cruise Control

Suffolk University has released a statewide poll showing how difficult it will be for Democrats to unseat Senator Scott Brown, with voters giving Brown a high favorable rating as well as showing him substantially ahead off all potential rivals in head to head match ups. From the David Paleologos press release:

More than half (55 percent) of Bay State voters said that Brown deserves to be reelected, and 56 percent said they agreed that Brown has kept his promise to be an independent voice in the U.S. Senate.

“Brown is beating all expectations,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “His popularity hasn’t diminished as most expected, and at this point in time he’s going to be tough to beat.”

In the most recent Suffolk University/7NEWS poll, Brown led by at least 15 points in all matchups against potential Democratic challengers, with the exception of Joe Kennedy, who trailed by 5 points (Brown 45 percent, Kennedy 40 percent).

Brown defeats Governor Patrick head to head by 52% to 37%, which was the only real surprise for me in the survey. Mayor Setti Warren, who is contemplating a run against Brown, is not known by 72% of voters. He would have some work to do and some money to spend, but he has an interesting story to tell, and certainly lower name recognition at the start of a campaign cannot be considered to be fatal. (See Brown, Scott).

So, what is the key to the Brown numbers. Lets look at the matchup with Governor Patrick, which Brown wins handily. The numbers show that the Governor racks up a big margin against Brown amongst Dems, beating him by 70% to 17% (although that margin should be higher), while Brown wins near unanimous support from Republicans at 87% to 5%. But Brown continues that “independent magic”, winning that group by 69% to 20%. If the Democrats hope to beat Brown that number has to come down. Brown has been quite effective at picking his spots, making political hay by some high profile, single issue defections from Republican orthodoxy. It is working with independents. Brown also leads amongst female voters in this match-up, 48% to 41%.

Scott Brown is no one hit wonder, showing himself to be adroit at cultivating the “independent” voters by walking a fine line in his support of Republican policies that are not popular in Massachusetts. He has money, he has a great way about him on the campaign trail, but he can still be beat. It is just going to be a hard fight for the Democrat. With those numbers which Democrats will be stepping forward? Read the Globe story here.

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