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Poll: Mass. voters oppose Dems' agenda

Confetti falls on newly elected U.S. Sen. Scott Brown after his victory speech in Boston Tuesday. (UPI/Matthew Healey) | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/47b5b8b213ac97c0585e03e3bf2fb593/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Confetti falls on newly elected U.S. Sen. Scott Brown after his victory speech in Boston Tuesday. (UPI/Matthew Healey) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Voter dissatisfaction with Washington and the direction of healthcare reform contributed to Scott Brown's U.S. Senate win in Massachusetts, a survey suggests.

In the poll, conducted by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University's School of Public Health, 63 percent of Massachusetts' special-election voters say the country is seriously off-track. Of those, two-thirds voted for the Republican state senator over Democrat Martha Coakley to serve out the term of the late Edward M. Kennedy, a Democrat who held the seat for nearly 47 years.

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Respondents listed jobs and the economy as the most important issues.

The survey results highlight steadily growing sentiment against Democrats in Washington and a marked shift among voters in Massachusetts, where President Barack Obama won easily in 2008, the Post said.

Overall, two-thirds of those who voted for Brown said they did so at least partly because of opposition to the Democratic agenda in Washington.

Three in four respondents said they want Brown to work with Democrats to inject Republican thinking into legislation. A smaller proportion -- less than half -- said they want Brown to work with Democrats specifically on healthcare legislation.

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The survey revealed a decline in the proportion of voters who said the government should do more to solve problems. In 2008, 63 percent of Massachusetts voters said the government should do more, compared with 50 percent in the new poll.

The healthcare proposals won support from just 43 percent of respondents; 48 percent said they oppose them. Eight of 10 Brown supporters said they opposed reform, two-thirds of them strongly.

Coakley voters stressed the need to provide insurance to those who have none and to fix the healthcare system.

The telephone poll is based on responses from a random sampling of 880 Massachusetts residents who say they voted in the special election. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

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