Maybe Scott Brown will become the Manny Mota of politics — the guy who excels at pinch-hitting. After having just lost a statewide election to hold onto the seat he won in a January 2010 special election, Republicans want him back as their nominee if John Kerry gets his expected Secretary of State appointment.  And according to a new poll from Boston’s NPR affiliate WBUR, Brown leads all of the expected Democratic candidates, too (via Sarah Rumpf):

 WBUR poll of 500 registered voters finds U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is in a strong position should there be a special election to fill U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s seat.

Kerry is believed to be President Obama’s choice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The poll, conducted by the MassINC Polling Group on Monday and Tuesday, finds voters view Brown favorably, despite the fact that in November they chose to elect Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren in his stead. Fifty-eight percent of those polled say they have a favorable view of Brown, compared with 28 percent who view him unfavorably. Rounded off, 12 percent say they are undecided, and 1 percent say they have never heard of him. …

“We matched him up theoretically against (U.S. Reps.) Ed Markey, Mike Capuano, Steve Lynch and (former U.S. Rep.) Marty Meehan, and in each one of those cases, he led by between 17 and 19 points,” Koczela said.

Meehan, now the president of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, has already said he’s not interested in running.

The poll also pits him against his 2010 opponent, Martha Coakley, who doesn’t fare any better in a rematch.  Brown actually pulls a majority in a head-to-head against Coakley, winning 51/36.  The only other majority he gets comes against Steve Lynch, beating him by more than 2:1 at 51/24.

What about Deval Patrick?  I doubt that Patrick wants to trade the governorship for a seat in the US Senate midway through his second term, but even if he did, he might not get it.  Brown edges Patrick in this poll by seven points, 47/40, the closest any Democrat gets to Brown in this survey.  Patrick is the only Democrat to get to the 40% level. Coakley actually does better than anyone but Patrick.

Clearly, Brown remains popular in Massachusetts, and without Barack Obama on the ticket and in a special election, he has a good chance to make a triumphant return to the US Senate in mid-spring.  That may have Massachusetts Democrats dialing the 213 area code to look for a candidate.

Update: Trivia point of the day, from Philip Klein: