Poll: Kennedy Ahead in Race for Frank's Seat

Friday, 10 Feb 2012 11:28 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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There’s no sign of “Kennedy fatigue” in Massachusetts, at least not yet in the congressional race where Democrat Joseph P. Kennedy III is expected to face off against Republican Sean Bielat in the November general election. According to a Boston Herald poll conducted with the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, the young Kennedy leads Bielat in a trial heat by a 60-28 margin.
 
Kennedy has not yet officially announced his campaign, but both men are hoping to replace retiring Democrat Barney Frank, who is leaving the U.S. House after 16 terms.
 
The Herald said in a report Friday that Kennedy — son of former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II — is “being helped by the fact that Bielat remains largely unknown by voters” despite the fact that he ran a close race against Frank in 2010.
 
For example, 55 percent of the 408 registered voters questioned in the newly configured 4th District said they had never heard of Bielat. At the same time, the poll found that nearly three-quarters of voters had a favorable opinion of the Kennedy family. Including 42 percent of those who identified themselves as Republicans and GOP-leaning independents.
 
Still, the Herald was careful to note that the race has not yet really begun. And the paper pointed to Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s win over Democrat Martha Coakley in the 2010 special election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy as an indication that the Kennedy name may not carry the weight it used to.
 
“The ‘Kennedy fatigue’ issue has long been the major question in the congressional race,” the newspaper said.
 
Quoting unidentified sources, the Herald said Joseph P. Kennedy III decided not to run for a congressional seat two years ago because of polling data indicating there was a lack of support for the Kennedy family in general.

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