The Massachusetts special election to fill John Kerry's vacancy is a statistical dead heat. Markey's rather unimpressive record after nearly four decades in Congress seems to be keeping from jumping ahead in the polls, despite the Bay State being a Democratic stronghold. Republicans have been hammering Markey on his 1992 ethics investigation, and the ninety-two bounced checks that contributed to the closure of the House bank. While the poll was conducted by a Republican pollster, it's the independents that really stand out. They're a major voting bloc in the state, as indies make up more than half of the electorate. In all, the Hill reported yesterday that:
[O]nMessage Inc., gives Markey 46 percent support to Gomez's 43 percent, with 11 percent of respondents undecided. Markey's lead is within the poll's 3.4 percent margin of error, indicating the race is a statistical dead heat.
Both Markey and Gomez have similarly high favorables overall, but fewer respondents view Gomez unfavorably than Markey, likely due to the fact that voters haven't yet tuned into the race and still don't know much about him.
But Gomez fares better among independents, a key voting bloc in Massachusetts, as more than half of the state's voters aren't registered with either party. Only 10 percent of independents view him negatively, while 44 percent view Markey negatively, putting Markey underwater with independents.
The internal poll was conducted among 800 likely special election voters from May 5-7.
Pollster Wes Anderson writes in his memo on the survey that Markey can't continue to be seen so negatively by independents "and hope to win."
The special election will be held on June 25. Markey has some work to do.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333"] Left to right: Gabriel Gomez (R) and Rep. Ed Markey (D)[/caption]