A new poll from Suffolk University finds Democratic congressman Ed Markey with a seven-point lead ahead of this month's special election for the U.S. Senate in Massachsuetts. In a survey of 500 likely voters, Markey received 48 percent support, while his Republican opponent, businessman and retired Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, received 41 percent support. Ten percent say they remain undecided for the special election, which will be held on June 25.
Markey's lead has dropped ten points since Suffolk last polled the race in May. Then, Markey had an 17-point lead over Gomez, 52 percent to 35 percent. Here's more from Suffolk:
“Ed Markey continues to lead but the margin has dwindled,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Markey’s core ballot test number has fallen below 50 percent and recent Obama administration scandals, especially the Associated Press phone records scrutiny, have touched a nerve with likely voters who are holding back or no longer supporting Markey and President Obama with the same intensity.”
Many recent polls have shown Gomez within 8 to 12 points of Markey, and none have shown him beating the veteran Democrat. A poll released last week by the McLaughlin Group, which works for GOP candidates, showed Markey and Gomez just a point apart, 45 percent to 44 percent.
Polling for a special election can be problematic, however, with lower turnout than with regular elections and variance in who turns out. Massachusetts is a heavily Democratic state, so Markey maintains the advantage. But special elections can be opportunities for political upsets, as the voters of Massachusetts know well after delivering a victory in 2010 to Senate candidate Scott Brown, a Republican, over the favored and veteran statewide candidate, Martha Coakley.
Markey and Gomez are vying for the seat once held by John Kerry, who resigned from the Senate earlier this year to become secretary of state. The seat is currently occupied by Democrat Mo Cowan.