As Scott Brown’s first year in the Senate comes to a close he remains an extremely formidable political presence and leads five hypothetical 2012 reelection opponents by margins ranging anywhere from 7 to 19 points.
Vicki Kennedy (48-41) and Deval Patrick (49-42) do the best against Brown, each trailing by 7 points. Ed Markey trails by 10 (49-39), Mike Capuano does by 16 (52-36), and Stephen Lynch does by 19 (49-30).
Brown is one of the most popular Senators in the country, with 53% of voters approving of his job performance and only 29% disapproving. He continues to have incredible appeal to independents, with whom his approval spread is 61/25. He also breaks nearly even among Democrats with 35% approving and 41% disapproving of what he’s done so far. The only other Republican Senators PPP’s polled on this year with that much appeal to Democrats are Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Lindsey Graham. What sets Brown apart from that trio is he’s managed to generate that popularity across party lines without antagonizing voters in his own party- Republicans give him a 74/13 approval.
The Democratic establishment in Massachusetts has underestimated Scott Brown at every turn. They are doing the same today by thinking he’s vulnerable. While this will be a bruising campaign season, the Senator is well loved by the people and is in a very good position for reelection in 2012.