MARKEY HOLDS SOLID LEAD OVER GOMEZ IN MASSACHUSETTS SENATE RACE
With three weeks until Bay State voters pick a new United States Senator, democratic Congressman Ed Markey is in position to win the June 25th special election. According to the latest New England College poll, Markey holds a 12-point lead over republican challenger Gabriel Gomez, 52%-40%. Only 8% say they are unsure who they’ll vote for this month.
The Polling Center at NEC conducted a telephone poll of 734 registered voters in Massachusetts on June 1 and 2. Although the percentages of support among the party faithful is similar for the respective campaigns, the sheer number of democratic voters in the Bay State gives Congressman Markey a distinct advantage going into the special election. “The key to Congressman Markey’s lead is his consolidation of Democratic support as well as his ability to stay competitive among independent voters,” said Ben Tafoya the Director of the Polling Center. “If you just look at the percentages, Gabriel Gomez is competing with Ed Markey, but Mr. Gomez is simply drawing from a much smaller pool of voters because of the nearly three to one party registration advantage enjoyed by Democrats.”
According to the NEC poll, Ed Markey has 75% support from fellow democrats; Gabriel Gomez currently holds 76% of GOP voter support. Gomez slightly leads Markey among independent voters, 47%-44%. “The overwhelming Democratic registration edge and Markey’s strong support among Democrats mean that Gomez has a big hill to climb to be competitive in this race,” concludes Tafoya.
The poll indicates that as of now, turnout on June 25 will not match the intensity voters in Massachusetts showed in the January 2010 special election which sent Republican Scott Brown to Washington DC. Among the registered voters interviewed in early June, 71% had voted in April and only 28% had not and plan to vote later this month.
The final challenge for the GOP challenger may be simple awareness. Gabriel Gomez still suffers from low name recognition. When voters were asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Gabriel Gomez, they responded with a strong favorable impression (52% to 26%), but a relatively high 22% said they remain unsure about the Senate candidate.
Among voters who have a “somewhat favorable” opinion of Gomez, 34% say they will be voting for Ed Markey. 75% of respondents who said they are unsure of their opinion of the republican candidate indicated they plan to support Markey this month. “Voters who know Gabriel Gomez like him, but he’s running out of time to introduce himself to voters,” concludes Tafoya.
Basic economic issues are driving the voters in this special election. The NEC Poll found the number one concern identified by voters is “lowering the unemployment rate”, followed by fears about the growing federal deficit. For voters who identified the rising unemployment rate, environmental protection and women’s rights as their main issue, there is overwhelming support for Ed Markey. For those who are most concerned about lowering the federal deficit and lowering taxes, the number one choice was Gabriel Gomez.
Existing statewide officeholders have a positive job performance rating among Massachusetts voters. According to the poll, 57% of respondents approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing; 40% disapprove. Governor Deval Patrick holds a 59% job approval rating, compared to 34% who do not approve. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a 50% job approval rating; 32% say they disapprove of the work she is doing in Washington. “The popularity of the President tracks well with the potential vote for Ed Markey”, says Tafoya.
Taking an early look at potential candidates for Governor in 2014, there is good news for two of the likely challengers. Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Steve Grossman both enjoy positive ratings by voters who are familiar with these political figures. However, not surprisingly, an overwhelming number of voters are not sure yet about the two men. Fully two-thirds of voters have not formed any opinion of Baker or Grossman.
Click here to download detailed poll results
About New England College:
New England College emphasizes experiential learning as an essential component in the development of an enduring academic community. Building upon a strong liberal arts foundation, we challenge our students to reach their full potential through informed discourse and the pursuit of excellence in a framework of academic freedom. New England College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The Teacher Education Program (and the majors in Elementary Education, Physical Education, Secondary Education, and Special Education) is approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education.