Incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) holds an early 9-point lead over possible Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in the 2012 race for the Massachusetts Senate seat.
According to a WBUR poll released Tuesday, 44 percent of likely voters said they would choose Brown over Warren in a hypothetical matchup between the two. Thirty-five percent of likely voters said they would choose Warren.
Warren, who was tasked by President Barack Obama to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and is currently a professor of Law at Harvard Law School, is the most competitive candidate that could challenge Brown, according to the poll.
Warren formed an exploratory committee in August, the same month she embarked on a listening tour around the state.
The poll is bleak for all Democrats, however. Brown leads City Year founder Alan Khazei by 15 points, activist Bob Massie by 16 points and Newton Mayor Setti Warren by 18 percent.
Another positive sign for Brown is that 54 percent of likely voters say they have a favorable opinion of him. Comparably, Elizabeth Warren has a 17 percent favorable rating, with 44 percent of likely voters unaware of who she is.
Brown was elected in the 2010 special election after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. At the end of June 2011, Brown had amassed a nearly $10 million war chest for the Senate race.
Democrats currently hold a 53 to 47 seat majority in the Senate, but will be defending 23 seats in the upcoming election, compared with Republicans, who will defend 10 seats.
The results of the WBUR poll were based off of phone conversations with 500 likely voters from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, 2011. The polls sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
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