Democrats Close Gap in Mass. Senate Race

Tuesday, 19 Feb 2013 11:07 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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With former Sen. Scott Brown’s decision not to enter the Massachusetts special Senate race, Democrat Stephen Lynch has narrowed the gap with fellow Democrat Ed Markey to 15 points in a primary race that is likely to produce the next senator of The Bay State.

A poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling shows that Markey is still up by 43 to 28 percent over Lynch among 426 likely Democratic primary voters in the state — but down from Markey’s 52/19 lead as of Jan. 30, according to the polling firm.

“Markey is far more popular with the primary electorate than Lynch is,” according to Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling. “Fifty eight percent of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 18 percent with an unfavorable one, for a net favorability of +40. That’s 33 points better than Lynch’s only 36 percent of voters have a positive view of him while 29 percent have a negative one for a net +7.”

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Brown was ousted from his Senate seat in November by Elizabeth Warren, just two years after winning a special election following the death of longtime Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Brown decided not to run in the special election for the seat of newly confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry. The decision of the former Massachusetts senator — a well-liked GOP power player — means Kerry’s seat will likely stay with the Democrats.

Jensen noted that Markey’s support from environmental groups is likely to be a major asset for him in the primary contest.

“Eighty-one percent of voters say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate with environmental backing, including 47 percent who say they’re ‘much more likely’ to vote for a candidate with those endorsements,” said Jensen. “Once voters become more aware of Markey’s support there’s a good chance his lead will increase.”

He added that Lynch’s record on abortion is likely to be a major problem for him in the primary contest. “Seventy percent of primary voters say they’re less inclined to vote for a candidate with an anti-choice record, and 54 percent say it’s an issue that makes them much less likely to vote for someone,” he explained.

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