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Poll shows Elizabeth Warren trailing Scott Brown by 9 points

at 07:52 AM ET, 02/17/2012

Could Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) be showing new signs of life in the Massachusetts Senate race?

A new poll from Suffolk University shows Brown regaining a nine-point lead on former Obama aide Elizabeth Warren — a marked shift from a steady stream of polls that showed Warren moving into a virtual tie with the incumbent.

The Suffolk poll shows Brown leading Warren 49 percent to 40 percent and offers a little insight as to why.

Brown’s personal numbers are better than Warren’s in the poll, with a majority (52 percent) rating him favorably and 28 percent rating him unfavorably. Warren, despite being less well-known, has the same unfavorable rating, compared to 35 percent favorable.
Elizabeth Warren talks with White House economic adviser Paul Volcker and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke before the signing ceremony for the financial overhaul bill. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

It’s not exactly panic time for Warren, but there do seem to be some reservations about her.

When voters were asked what are the first words that come to mind when they hear Warren’s name, among the top words are “liberal” and ”Harvard” — two words Republicans are using to try to define Warren. Many of the other words that popped up for Warren are neutral or factual rather than overtly positive.

Brown, meanwhile, still appears to have some of the political brand and popularity that have made him a successful Republican in the country’s most Democratic state. Among his top words are “independent,” “fair,” “honest” and ”hard-worker.”

This will still be a tough race for Brown; even if he maintains this kind of goodwill, it’s a very blue state in a presidential year.

But this new poll should be a little heartening for a senator who had been sliding in recent polls.

 
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