Only two days into the general election to fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s Massachusetts Senate seat, the race between longtime Democratic Rep. Ed Markey and Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez is fairly close.
According to an Emerson College Polling Society poll released Thursday, Gomez trails Markey by just six points in the blue state, 36 percent to 42 percent.
Both candidates are popular, with Markey boasting a 48 percent favorability rating and Gomez 45 percent. But Markey has higher unfavorables, at 37 percent, than Gomez, who is viewed unfavorably by only 25 percent of people. Still, those numbers show Gomez to be a much less-well known quantity, meaning they could shift as voters get to know him.
Felix Chen, the president of the Emerson College Polling Society, suggested that Gomez’s high numbers might just be a “post-primary bounce” and “may only be a honeymoon period.” Still, while Massachusetts is a blue state, it is not entirely immune to the charms of a Republican politician, as former Sen. Scott Brown proved in 2010. Brown started off that race, also a special election, in far worse shape than Gomez. In the first available poll, he trailed Martha Coakley, the Democratic whom he later defeated, by 30 points, 54 percent to 24 percent.
Gomez does well among independent voters, with 46 percent saying they would support him compared to just 25 percent for Markey. Moreover, Gomez is Hispanic, something Chen said could help him put certain areas of the state in play that otherwise would not be.
Still, it is early in the race. Gomez pulled off an upset on Tuesday over two other Republicans, and Markey defeated fellow member of Congress Stephen Lynch.
This is the first poll of the general election and it was conducted on Wednesday, May 1, the day after the primary election. The automated poll surveyed 797 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
The election is June 25.