Gomez, Markey in tight race for Massachusetts Senate

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Massachusetts is a state with a decidedly blue tilt, but three days into the special election there, a second poll shows Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez giving Democratic Rep. Ed Markey a run for his money.

A poll released Friday by Public Policy Polling has Markey leading Gomez by just four points, 44 percent to 40 percent. The automated poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

An Emerson College Polling Society poll released Thursday found Gomez trailing by a mere six points. Both are vying for Secretary of State John Kerry’s old Senate seat.

The results of the PPP poll largely mirror those of the Emerson College Polling Society poll. Gomez is well-liked, with 41 percent of voters holding a favorable opinion compared to just 21 percent who have an unfavorable opinion. Markey also has high favorables, at 44 percent, but his unfavorables are high as well, at 41 percent.

Gomez is much less well-known than Markey, with 32 percent of voters saying they are unsure how they feel about him, so there is room for his numbers to change as he becomes more defined to voters.

The Republican also does well with independents: 42 percent say they hold a favorable opinion of him, compared to just 24 percent unfavorable, and 47 percent say that, at this point, they would vote for him over Markey.

Markey, by contrast, is upside down with independents: 50 percent have an unfavorable view of him, and only 31 percent see him favorably.

Democrats are split on Gomez: 33 percent say they view him favorably and 32 percent say they view him unfavorably. 21 percent say they would vote for him over Markey.

Markey, however, has the benefit of Massachusetts being a blue state. President Barack Obama remains popular — 53 percent of approve of the job he’s doing — and just 41 percent disapprove. Democrats have made it clear that they plan to pull out all the stops to get him elected. The Boston Globe reported Friday that first lady Michelle Obama will headline a fundraiser for Markey later in May.

The Markey campaign was unperturbed by the two polls.

“While we don’t pay attention to public polls, we’re confident that the more voters learn about Gabriel Gomez’s opposition to sensible gun reforms like banning assault weapons and limiting high-capacity magazines, support for devastating cuts to Social Security and the fact he can’t be trusted to protect a woman’s rights to choose, the clearer it will be that a vote for Gomez is a vote for a radical Republican agenda that’s bad for Massachusetts,” said Markey press secretary Andrew Zucker in a statement to The Daily Caller.

Polling can be difficult in special elections, pointed out Trey Grayson, director of the Harvard University Institute of Politics, because turnout is so difficult to predict.

The poll surveyed 1,539 likely voters on May 1 and 2 using automated phone calls.

The election is scheduled for June 25.

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