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Boston Globe Poll: Markey Ahead Big in Special Election

But is Gomez out yet?

5:01 PM, Jun 17, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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With 9 days left before the June 25 special election for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, Democrat Ed Markey maintains a significant lead. The latest poll from the Boston Globe shows Markey, a longtime House member, ahead of Republican Gabriel Gomez by 15 points. Here's more from the Globe's analysis, which portends trouble for Gomez:

Markey, who has driven up concerns about his GOP opponent with a barrage of hard-hitting television ads, leads Gomez 54 percent to 41 percent, with only 4 percent of the respondents saying they were still undecided about whom to support in the June 25 election.

When you include voters who said they haven’t yet made up their minds but are leaning toward a candidate, the race tightens slightly, with 54 percent favoring Markey and 43 percent favoring Gomez.

Gomez is the candidate poll respondents find more likable and he holds the lead among unenrolled voters — the critical bloc of independents whose support he’ll need to top a Democrat in Massachusetts. But that margin is only 9 percentage points. Analysts believe that for a Republican to win in Massachusetts, he must win the unenrolled vote by a 2-to-1 margin.

Gomez's path to victory looks difficult, to be sure, and according to Real Clear Politics, the Republican has not led in any poll of the race so far. It's worth remembering, though, that even the Boston Globe can get races wrong. In the 2010 special Senate election in Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown defeated the favored Democrat Martha Coakley by almost 5 points after coming from behind in the polls. But what did the Globe poll say nine days before that election in January 2010? Here's an excerpt:

Democrat Martha Coakley, buoyed by her durable statewide popularity, enjoys a solid, 15-percentage-point lead over Republican rival Scott Brown as the race for US Senate enters the homestretch, according to a new Boston Globe poll of likely voters. 

Brown had several factors that helped him, including support from national conservatives and growing outrage over the impending Obamacare legislation. Around a week before the election, a few polls had Brown with a modest lead, too. And for all of Gomez's qualities (he's a former Navy SEAL, a Harvard business school graduate, and the son of immigrants), he's a less experienced and formidable politician than Brown.

But as the Globe's numbers in 2010 showed, special elections can be unpredictable. 

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