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.”
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.
While traveling to New Jersey today, President Barack Obama stiffed the Democratic opponent of Republican governor Chris Christie. Obama did not meet privately with Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate. But he did walk along the Jersey Shore boardwalk with Christie.
Democratic senator Joe Manchin calls the IRS's activities "unacceptable and un-American."
"“The actions of the IRS are unacceptable and un-American. Government agencies using their bureaucratic muscle to target Americans for their political beliefs cannot be tolerated. The President must immediately condemn this attack on our values, find those individuals in his Administration who are responsible and fire them," says the West Virginia Democratic senator.
Democratic senator Joe Manchin said he'd "absolutely" bring the gun control measures that failed in the Senate back for another vote:
"This not only protects your Second Amendment rights, it expands your Second Amendment rights," Manchin said, talking up the failed legislation. He said he believes it can pass if people "read the bill."
The 2012 national election continues to be a puzzle. Barack Obama won reelection with a solid 51 percent of the vote, and Democrats picked up 2 Senate seats, expanding their majority to 55-45. Yet the House of Representatives remained in Republican control, 234-201, yielding the divided government we have today.