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Elizabeth Warren in dead heat for Mass. Senate seat, poll shows

October 3, 2011 |  9:20 am

Elizabeth Warren campaigning in Massachusetts
Elizabeth Warren, the woman that Wall Street didn't want running the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, appears to be doing well in her campaign for another high-profile job -- U.S. senator from Massachusetts.

Warren is the overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination for the seat held by Republican Sen. Scott Brown, and is in a virtual dead heat with him should they face off in November 2012, according to a new poll from the University of Massachusetts and the Boston Herald.

Warren, a Harvard law professor and expert on consumer bankruptcy, was the choice of 36% of potential Democratic primary voters, the poll found. None of the other candidates scored more than 5%.

In a race against Brown, registered voters said they preferred Warren 41% to 38%. The poll has a margin of error of 3.8%, which means the two are essentially tied.

The poll noted that Warren's strong showing came even though 37% of respondents hadn't heard of her. Brown's support, on the other hand, is hindered by the view of 48% of those polled that he is doing too little to help the economic interests of the middle class.

Nearly six in 10 voters also said they were unhappy with policies offered by Republicans in Congress -- with more than two in 10 saying they were angry about the GOP positions.

Brown is a top 2012 target of Democrats desperate to keep control of the Senate. He was elected in an upset in 2009 to fill the seat held for decades by Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Warren is a favorite of liberals, who pushed for President Obama to nominate her to head the new consumer agency, the centerpiece of the sweeping overhaul of financial regulations enacted last year. She had originally proposed creating such an agency in 2007 and worked as an Obama administration advisor for nearly a year to help launch it.

But most Republicans and many on Wall Street opposed Warren, and Obama opted this summer not to nominate her for the job, which requires Senate confirmation.

Liberal advocacy groups then encouraged her to try to unseat Brown. Warren has never run for political office before, but said she wanted to fight for average Americans against huge corporate interests.

"The pressures on middle-class families are worse than ever, but it is the big corporations that get their way in Washington," she said in launching her campaign last month. "I want to change that."


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 -- Jim Puzzanghera

Photo: Elizabeth Warren campaigning in a diner in Framingham, Mass., in September. Credit: Associated Press