Mass. Senate race tight after Warren controversy

Scott Brown, left, and Elizabeth Warren, right.
Scott Brown, left, and Elizabeth Warren, right.

(CBS News) Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren has closed the gap on Republican Sen. Scott Brown in their battle for Brown's Massachusetts Senate seat despite a controversy over her heritage, according to a new poll.

The Suffolk University/7NEWS poll showed the two candidates in a statistical tie among likely general-election voters in Massachusetts, with Brown taking 48 percent to Warren's 47 percent. (That's within the poll's four point margin of error.) In a February Suffolk/7NEWS poll, Brown led Warren by nine points.

The race has been dominated for the last month by a debate over whether Warren improperly identified as Native Americanin order to further her professional career. 

The poll found that only 27 percent of voters believe the story is significant, while 69 percent say it is not. Among voters aware of the controversy, 49 percent say they believe Warren is being truthful that she has Native American heritage. Twenty-seven percent say they do not believe her, while 23 percent say they are not sure.

The survey also found that Warren has gotten little traction with her claims that Brown is a favorite of Wall Street. Only 33 percent of voters in the traditionally blue state agreed that a vote for Scott Brown is a vote for Wall Street, while 55 percent disagreed.

The hard-fought battle between Brown and Warren is one of the most closely-watched Senate races in the country, in part because it offers Democrats a rare opportunity to pick up a Senate seat as they try to keep control of the chamber.

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    Rodney Hawkins covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.