New Poll Has Coakley, Brown in Dead Heat for Senate Seat

Conflicting polls show very different outcomes in the race to replace Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate. 

According to Public Policy Polling group, the race is looking like a toss up, with Republican Scott Brown up 48-47 percent on Martha Coakley.

Brown is benefiting from depressed Democratic interest in the election and a huge lead among independents for his surprisingly strong standing, the poll takers conclude.

Those folks planning to vote in the special election are actually opposed to Obama's health care plan by a 47-41 margin and only narrowly express approval of the president's overall job performance 44-43 percent.

"The Massachusetts Senate race is shaping up as a potential disaster for Democrats," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. 

Click here to see more from the poll. (pdf) 

The poll of 744 likely Massachusetts voters taken Jan. 7-9 is very different from a poll by the Boston Globe taken Jan. 2-6 that showed Coakley up 15 points among 544 likely voters. 

The Boston Globe poll also shows one-quarter of voters are undecided and the two candidates splitting votes evenly among those "extremely interested" in the race.

The winner will take the seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. A placeholder is now in that spot. While it's a long shot for a Republican to win statewide office in liberal Massachusetts -- Brown is one of just five state senators -- a win for Brown against the better-known attorney general would end the 60-vote, supermajority Democrats hold in the U.S. Senate.

However, in recognition of how difficult the race is for Coakley, she has enlisted the aid of former President Bill Clinton, who will be stumping for her on Friday. The election is Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Ironically, a third Libertarian Party candidate named Joe Kennedy is also in the race. However, he is not the Joe Kennedy of the famous political family. Kennedy received 5 percent support in the Boston Globe poll.

Fox News' Major Garrett contributed to this report.