The much-anticipated Public Policy Polling survey shows Republican Scott Brown leading Democrat Martha Coakley 48 percent to 47 percent in the Massachusetts special election campaign to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Republicans are more enthusiastic about turning out than Democrats by 66 percent to 48 percent; Brown leads among independents by 63 percent to 31 percent; Brown’s favorability among unaffiliated voters is 70 percent. Independents oppose the Democratic health care plan 59 percent to 27 percent. Brown has a net favorable rating of 32 points.
The pollsters note that there are still many things Coakley could do to turn the race around: run more effectively on Ted Kennedy’s legacy, tie Brown to national Republicans who remain unpopular in Massachusetts, turn out the larger universe of Democratic voters in the commonwealth. But this is the second set of poll numbers that explains why Democrats are starting to talk about delaying Brown’s certification until a health care bill is passed rather than defeating him in the special election. The full poll numbers can be read here (pdf).