A new poll by the Western New England University Polling Institute and the Springfield Republican newspaper shows Democrat Elizabeth Warren with a five-point lead over Senator Scott Brown, but the survey also found that a greater number of likely voters view both candidates unfavorably in the final weeks of the race.
Warren leads Brown 50 percent to 45 percent, according to the survey — the seventh of eight polls in the past month that found Warren with a lead in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. But compared with a previous poll taken by Western New England University three weeks ago, the negative marks for both candidates have jumped as the campaign has taken on an increasing heated tone in the final stretch.
Three weeks ago, 33 percent of likely voters viewed Warren unfavorably. That number increased to 41 percent in this recent poll, conducted between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4; her favorability rating, meanwhile, decreased from 53 percent to 50 percent.
And Brown, too, faces increased negatives. The Polling Institute survey indicated 36 percent of likely voters now view him unfavorably, compared with 32 percent in mid September; his favorability rating dropped from 54 percent to 52 percent.
But the poll did show Brown gaining strength in Central Massachusetts, while Warren continued to hold a strong lead in Boston and the surrounding suburbs, as well as in Western Massachusetts.
Warren also appeared to broaden her lead among women, ahead of the incumbent senator by 26 points among female voters, while among male voters, Brown led his Democratic challenger by 18 points.
The survey has a 4.7 percent margin of error among a sample of 440 likely voters. The poll also surveyed 516 registered voters, which had a 4.3 percent margin of error.