The Senate race in Massachusetts is a dead heat according to an extensive new poll, with Republican Scott Brown leading Democrat Martha Coakley 48–47 among likely voters.
Brown enjoys a staggering 70/16 favorability ratio among independents, and 66–31 advantage over Coakley (thanks in part to a total lack of advertising from the latter). He also benefits from an “enthusiasm gap”: 68 percent of Republicans polled said they were “very excited” about casting their vote, compared to just 48 percent of Democrats. This is due in large part to spreading dissatisfaction with Democrats, evinced by the shape of the electorate likely to turn out at the polls. In a state that Barack Obama won by 26 points in 2008, the president holds only a 16 point edge among likely voters in the special election.
The poll also shows widespread opposition to the health-care-reform plan President Obama champions — just 27 percent of independents support it.
The race is far from over, and Brown could see his razor-thin lead evaporate and then some if Coakley starts to campaign in earnest. But, at least for today, the news is very good indeed for Scott Brown.