After easily winning the Democratic primary last week, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., appears in good shape to defeat Republican businessman and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez in the looming special election to fill Secretary of State John Kerry's old Massachusetts Senate seat.
The results of two new polls both show Markey leading Gomez in the special election to be held next month, although the size of Markey's lead varies.
A Suffolk University/7 News poll released late Wednesday showed Markey with a sizable 52 percent to 35 percent lead over Gomez. Another 11 percent were undecided.
"Ed Markey begins this race where he left off with his win in the Democratic Primary: exceeding expectations," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.
"The early perception immediately after the party primaries was that Markey was vulnerable," he added. "These findings suggest the opposite of a close race - that Ed Markey begins the sprint to June with a large lead over his Republican opponent who voters are unsure about."
However, a separate MassINC Polling Group/WBUR poll released Thursday showed Markey with a narrower 41 percent to 35 percent lead over Gomez, with 23 percent undecided.
When undecided voters were asked which candidate they were leaning toward, Markey's lead widened to 46 percent to 38 percent but remains in the single digits.
"We have a real race on our hands," MassINC Polling Group pollster Steve Koczela told WBUR, noting that about half of voters are undecided about Gomez.
Koczela added, "He's got some teaching to do, or some getting his message out, as far as educating voters on who he is and what he has to offer."
Markey and Gomez will face off in a special election on June 25th, although the winner will only serve until 2014 and will have to run again to seek a full six-year term in the Senate.
The seat is currently filled by William "Mo" Cowan, who Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick appointed to serve as interim senator after Kerry was confirmed as Secretary of State.
The Suffolk/7 News survey of 500 likely voters was conducted May 4th through 7th, while the MassINC/WBUR survey of 497 likely voters was conducted May 5th and 6th. Both polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
by RTTNews Staff Writer
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