Skip to Main Content

Poll: Warren is Front-Runner in Race to Face Brown for Senate Seat

All Six Candidates for Democratic Nomination to Debate Oct. 4 at UMass Lowell


Additional results will be released on Monday, Oct. 3.

UMass Lowell representatives are available for interviews about today’s poll. 
TV assignment desks – Please note UMass Lowell offers live interviews via ReadyCam by VideoLink.

LOWELL, Mass. – Elizabeth Warren is in a virtual dead heat against U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and holds a commanding lead over other Democratic challengers in the Senate race, according to a UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll released today.

Thirty-six percent of potential Democratic primary voters surveyed say they’d prefer to have Warren face Brown, a Republican, in November 2012, according to the independent, nonpartisan poll of more than 1,000 registered voters across Massachusetts. None of the other five candidates – state Rep. Tom Conroy, immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, Global Reporting Initiative co-founder Bob Massie and engineer and activist Herb Robinson – garnered more than 5 percent support from those surveyed. 

The poll is the first for a new partnership between the Boston Herald and UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion. The partners will also co-host a debate on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. on the UMass Lowell campus. All six of the declared Democratic candidates have said they will participate in the debate, which is free and open to the public. The debate will be streamed live at and, and the public can participate on Twitter using #UMLDebate.

The poll found that 41 percent of voters surveyed said they likely would vote for Brown and 38 percent would vote for Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, if those are the choices in the November 2012 election. With a margin of error on the poll of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, they are virtually even. 

Other findings from the poll include:
  • Forty-eight percent of Massachusetts registered voters said Brown is doing too little for the economic interests of the middle class. 
  • Despite strong support among potential Democratic primary voters in the poll, 37 percent of registered voters said they hadn’t heard of Elizabeth Warren yet.
  • While more view Brown favorably (52 percent) than unfavorably (29 percent), 37 percent of respondents said they are dissatisfied with policies offered by Republicans in Congress and another 23 percent said they are angry with those policies.
  • The poll also tested two potential 2012 presidential election matchups and found that 62 percent of voters said they would choose President Barack Obama while 25 percent would vote for Republican Rick Perry, and in a race between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, 57 percent would vote for Obama and 33 percent for Romney.
Additional findings from the poll will be released on Monday, Oct. 3.

The independent, nonpartisan poll was conducted for the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion and Boston Herald under the direction of independent survey researcher Mike Mokrzycki – former head of polling for the Associated Press whose other clients include NBC News, where he manages the network’s exit poll operation, and the Pew Research Center.

“This poll employed time-tested best practices of the survey research profession, including coverage of the cell-phone-only population, and was executed by one of the field’s leading independent firms. It employed an innovative questionnaire that was thoroughly vetted – with help from UMass Lowell political science students, as well as in a ‘pretest’ using professional interviewers – for clarity and balance. The result is a valid, reliable and rich portrait of who Massachusetts voters are and what they think as one of the nation’s most closely watched 2012 Senate races gets under way,” Mokrzycki said.

The UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll was conducted Sept. 22 through Sept. 28 among 1,005 Massachusetts registered voters reached randomly by landline and cell phone. Princeton Survey Research Associates International conducted the survey, with interviews by Braun Research Inc. To correct for known demographic discrepancies, results were weighted by age, race, gender, education, region within Massachusetts, number of adults in household and telephone usage. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for the full sample, larger for subgroups; surveys are subject to other, potentially greater, sources of error, such as from question wording and order.

UMass Lowell is a comprehensive, national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 15,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering, education, fine arts, health and environment, humanities, liberal arts, management, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.
Christine Gillette, (w) 978-934-2209, (c) 978-758-4664,