Massachusetts Senate Race Closer Than Expected
The Massachusetts Senate Special Election between Democratic Congressman Ed Markey and Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez is closer than most people thought it would be:
A new poll puts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey ahead of his Republican rival Gabriel Gomez by just 4 percentage points in the Massachusetts Senate race.
Markey leads Gomez, 44 percent to 40 percent, in a survey out Friday from Public Policy Polling. That’s a surprisingly narrow margin given the state’s overwhelmingly Democratic electorate. Sixteen percent of voters say they’re undecided.
Still, Republican Scott Brown’s surprise victory in the 2010 special Senate election proved that GOP candidates can prevail in the Bay State under the right circumstances. Democrats have vowed not to allow a repeat of Democrat Martha Coakley’s disastrous campaign against Brown three years ago.
Gomez, 47, who won a three-way Republican primary on Tuesday, is being lauded as a next-generation Republican with bipartisan appeal: he’s young, Latino and rose from modest means to become a Navy SEAL and successful businessman.
Markey, 66, was first elected to Congress in 1976 and has represented Massachusetts in the House since then.
Forty-one percent of those surveyed had a favorable view of Gomez, compared with 27 percent who viewed him unfavorably. Markey has higher name ID in the state, but also higher unfavorables: he has a 44 percent favorable rating in the poll, compared with 41 percent unfavorable.
Gomez has a double-digit lead among independents in the poll: he gets the support of 47 percent of the demographic, compared with 31 percent for Markey. Twenty-two percent of independents say they’re undecided.
The fact that Markey, who has been a fixture in Massachusetts politics for decades is interesting. Whether it means that Gomez has an opening here remains to be seen, but the high number of undecided voters and the fact that Gomez is very much a moderate Republican as Scott Brown was may mean that he’ll have a chance of pulling off a surprise victory.