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MA-Sen: Before Starting Campaign, Warren Within Single Digits of Scott Brown

Elizabeth Warren hasn’t even declared her candidacy against Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and she already has Brown’s lead down to single digits, according to a WBUR poll.

When paired in a hypothetical contest, 44 percent of 500 likely voters said they’d vote for Brown, compared to 35 percent who said they would vote for Elizabeth Warren. In similar hypothetical match-ups, Brown topped City Year co-founder Alan Khazei (45 percent to 30 percent), activist Bob Massie (45 percent to 29 percent) and Newton Mayor Setti Warren (no relation to Elizabeth) (46 percent to 28 percent).

Across all head-to-head contests, between 20 percent and 27 percent of voters were undecided or had no candidate preference.

This is a very good showing for a non-candidate who isn’t even truly in the race yet. Previous polls showed Warren behind by as much as 25 points. So this brings things down significantly. And when you look at the favorables, you realize that Warren has quite a lot of ground available to her.

Brown’s approval is positive, but Warren is fairly unknown. And she only captures 57% of Democrats in a head-to-head matchup, with 20% undecided. If Democrats come home to Warren, the race would be inside the margin of error. And this is before any campaigning at all. And there will be a Democratic incumbent President on the top of the ticket. Warren particularly has a lot of ground she can make up in the western part of the state, where she is more unknown. Plus, given the historic collapse of faith in Congress, practically any incumbent will be threatened next year.

Brown has some advantages, including his approvals and a 50-27 lead among independents. But we haven’t even seen a campaign as of yet, so that’s all subject to change. Once Warren puts out a message of strong support for the middle class, we’ll see how these numbers move.

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David Dayen

David Dayen