WASHINGTON -- Two polls, two different results. A new public poll of Massachusetts voters released Thursday night shows Sen. Scott Brown with a statistically significant lead over Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, contradicting the results of a survey released earlier in the week that showed a much closer result and gave Warren a slight edge.
The new survey conducted by the Suffolk University Political Research Center for Boston television station WHDH (7News), from Feb. 11 to Feb. 15, gives Brown a 9 percentage point lead over Warren (49 percent to 40 percent) with 2 percent opting for another candidate and 9 percent undecided.
A second poll released on Tuesday, conducted by the Massachusetts think tank MassINC on behalf of Boston NPR station WBUR, gave Warren a three percentage point edge (46 percent to 43 percent) that was not large enough to be considered statistically significant.
The Suffolk University findings, if accurate, represent a departure not only from the MassINC survey, but also from two polls late last year that both showed Warren slightly ahead. A live-interviewer survey conducted by the Boston Herald and UMass Lowell in early December gave Warren a seven percentage point lead (49 percent to 42 percent). An Internet poll conducted in early November by UMass Amherst showed Warren leading by four percentage points (43 percent to 39 percent).
The two new surveys were both conducted by telephone using live interviewers, and both called voters on both landline and mobile phones. The Suffolk University survey interviewed 600 registered voters in Massachusetts, while the MassINC survey interviewed 503 voters likely to vote in 2012. Typically, surveys that screen for likely voters, like the MassINC poll, are more likely to produce results slightly more favorable to Republicans, but in this case Warren did worse on the broader sampling of registered voters on the Suffolk University poll.