Incumbent Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) currently holds a nine point lead over Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, according to a new Suffolk University poll.

Q14. If the General Election for United States Senate were held today and the candidates were Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren for whom would you vote or towards whom would you lean at this time?

Brown-Republican ……………… 49%
Warren-Democrat ……………….. 40%
Other (DO NOT READ) ………..  2%
Undecided (DO NOT READ) ….. 9%
Refused (DO NOT READ) ………. 0%

This result is radically different from a WBUR poll released just a few days ago that found Warren leading 46 percent to Brown’s 43 percent. Given the huge 12 point difference it is likely that one or possibly both of the polls is significantly off. It should be noted the Suffolk poll used an unusual question order that may have helped Brown in the head to head question.

Despite the big divergence in the head to head match-up, the two polls found nearly identical favorability ratings for Brown. Suffolk has Brown at 52 percent favorable to 28 percent unfavorable, while WBUR has Brown at 50 favorable to 29 percent unfavorable.

These are great favorability numbers for an incumbent and would normally assure re-election. The problem for Brown is that he is a Republican running in the third most Democratic state in the country during a Presidential election year. Brown can only win if he can get a substantial number of the people voting for Obama to split their ticket and also vote for him.

If Democrats can successfully define Brown by completely tying him to the increasingly unpopular Republican brand, it should bring down his strong favorable rating. Simply bringing Brown favorable numbers down below 50 percent in itself should be enough to allow the Democrat’s massive registration advantage to do the rest.