Markey Up By 13 With Ten Days To Go In Massachusetts
Democrat Edward J. Markey holds a solid lead over his Republican rival, Gabriel E. Gomez, as the two enter the final week of the special US Senate campaign, according to a new Boston Globe poll.
Markey, who has driven up concerns about his GOP opponent with a barrage of hard-hitting television ads, leads Gomez 54 percent to 41 percent, with only 4 percent of the respondents saying they were still undecided about whom to support in the June 25 election.
When you include voters who said they haven’t yet made up their minds but are leaning toward a candidate, the race tightens slightly, with 54 percent favoring Markey and 43 percent favoring Gomez.
Gomez is the candidate poll respondents find more likable and he holds the lead among unenrolled voters — the critical bloc of independents whose support he’ll need to top a Democrat in Massachusetts. But that margin is only 9 percentage points. Analysts believe that for a Republican to win in Massachusetts, he must win the unenrolled vote by a 2-to-1 margin.
With three-quarters of the voters saying they are firm in their decision about who will receive their vote, Andrew E. Smith — director of The Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire, which conducted the poll — said Gomez will have a tough time generating the kind of finishing kick that vaulted Scott Brown to a huge political upset in the state 2010 election.
“Gomez is not in a bad spot, considering how Democratic the state is,” Smith said. “But unless he can catch lightning in a bottle like Brown did in the final days, it would be extraordinarily difficult for Gomez to win.”
Neither candidate, in fact, has managed to ignite strong voter interest in the race, the poll found. Only 34 percent of respondents said they know a lot about Markey and just 13 percent say they know a lot about Gomez.
Much of the congressman’s support may come more from the fact that he is a Democrat in deep blue Massachusetts than from any personal affinity for the candidate. For example, 30 percent of those who said they were likely to vote for Markey also acknowledged that they don’t actually know much about him.
Markey, however, also did well on a question that has in the past accurately forecast election winners: Voters, when asked who they think will win the race, regardless of their preference, chose Markey over Gomez 73 percent to 14 percent. Smith said that question is often a valuable predictor because it takes into account what poll respondents’ friends, relatives, and co-workers are saying about the candidates.
This being a Special Election, it’s of course possible that Gomez could pull off a surprise on June 25th, but there’s no sign of that possibility showing up in the polls yet. At a comparable point in the Brown-Coakley race in 2010, Brown had pulled within one point of Coakley in the polls. That’s not happening at this point, and it seems that Gomez is running out of time to pull off a surprise.