From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Most of us, who have been watching the Senate field take shape in Massachusetts, have thought state Attorney General Martha Coakley was a pretty good candidate and would probably be the front runner.
She had a strong announcement speech, and a tough, crime-fighting woman in a field of men would have inherent political advantages.
Well, here are the numbers to back it up. According to a new Suffolk poll, Coakley blows away the both the Democratic primary field and a leading Republican, who are all vying to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Coakley gets 47%, and the next closest competitor, Rep. Mike Capuano gets just 9%. Following Capuano is Rep. Stephen Lynch (who said he won't run) at 6% and City Year founder Alan Khazei at 3%.
Bay Staters also say they prefer Coakley to a leading Republican contender, state Sen. Scott Brown, by a wide margin -- 54%-20%.
The poll shows that Bay Staters aren't quite over their Kennedy fascination -- 59% said they would have voted for Joe Kennedy, Ted Kennedy's nephew, had he run.
Also of note, former Red Sox ace and World Series hero Curt Schilling, who has flirted with a run for the Senate, is a net-negative (!). Only 29% view him favorably versus 39% who view him negatively. And he, of course, is known by nearly everyone in the state -- just 12% in the poll say they don't know him. Baseball's goodwill clearly isn't translating to political support for Schilling, who has been an outspoken conservative. Many will remember that he was an ardent supporter of John McCain, and stumped for the Republican during his run for president in 2008.
(Hat tip: Political Wire)