Warren, a Democrat, leads Brown, a Republican, 43 percent to 38 percent, a shift from the Globe’s last poll in May, when Brown held a 2-point lead. But the race remains within either candidate’s grasp, with 18 percent of voters still undecided, said Andrew E. Smith, the Globe’s pollster and the director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. [...]Sobering because Brown is losing the Democratic voters he held previously, and because at the top of the ticket, Mitt Romney is a walking disaster in the state. Obama leads by 27 points. As of now, just nine percent of poll respondents who are voting for Obama say they'll vote for Brown, with 20 percent say they are undecided. A repeat of Brown's first debate performance, in which Brown was in nasty personal attack mode from the outset, could make up the minds of those undecided voters who are open to supporting Brown because he's a likable guy.
Warren’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent, meaning a spread of as much as 8 percentage points between the candidates would still statistically count as a dead heat. Still, the survey is sobering for Brown six weeks before the election.
The ugly incident with Brown's staff could also be hurting Brown. One undecided voter the Globe followed up with, Charlie Brewer, said he had made up his mind in the week since he was surveyed: “If it were today, I think the image of those guys whooping with the tomahawk chop, I’d vote for Ms. Warren.” It's also not helping Brown that, even after that disgusting display by his staff, that he is still running ads attacking Warren on her heritage. Because he's got nothing else to run on. His attacks are defining Warren for some voters, eroding her credibility.
So will Brown overcome his desperation, completely change the tenor and the direction of his campaign tonight? His actions since the last debate suggest not. That leaves Warren an opening to appeal to those undecided voters by focusing back on Brown's voting record, trying to force him to defend his votes.
The debate begins tonight at 7:00 ET, and will be shown locally on WHDH-TV (Channel 7), NECN, and CSPAN.
8:39 AM PT: WBUR is out with a brand new poll this morning, again showing Warren with a lead, albeit slight. This makes seven of nine polls in the past month giving Warren the edge: "46 percent to 44 percent, with 9 percent undecided in the hotly contested race." That's a slide for Warren from WBUR's poll of two weeks ago, which had her up by five points.
Also of note in this story, don't have high expectations for the debate moderator setting a tone or focusing on substance. The moderator is "Dancing" Dave Gregory.