Markey Edges Gomez In WBUR Senate Poll

BOSTON — A new WBUR poll (PDFs – topline, crosstabs) shows U.S. Rep. Edward Markey leading former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez 41 to 35 percent in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race.

Markey’s six-point edge expands to an eight-point margin — 46 to 38 percent — when undecided voters leaning toward one candidate or the other are included.

“Either way you look at it — with leaners or without leaners — you’ve got a race within single digits coming out of the primary,” says Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the survey for WBUR. “You’ve got a competitive race.”

Click for the poll's topline results.

Click for the poll’s topline results.

The WBUR poll is in line with a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey released Friday that showed a tight race — 44 to 40 percent for Markey, a Democrat. But it differs sharply from a Suffolk University/WHDH-TV poll, released Wednesday night, that gives Markey a 52 to 35 percent lead.

Whatever the spread, the WBUR poll suggests plenty of room for movement before Election Day on June 25.

Nearly one in four voters are still undecided. And political newcomer Gomez, if far better known than he was just weeks ago, remains undefined for much of the public.

While 37 percent of poll respondents have a favorable view of Gomez and 16 percent have an unfavorable view, nearly half have no opinion of the candidate or haven’t heard of him.

“People are starting to get a sense of who he is; he’s not wholly undefined,” Koczela says. “But he still has a ways to go in defining himself. And that really cuts both ways, because he’ll be trying to define himself and the Markey campaign will be trying to define him.”

Messages Not Yet Registering

Gomez, of course, is aiming to define his opponent, too.

After claiming the GOP nomination last week, he immediately set about painting Markey as a tired figure.

In his victory speech, the Republican pointed out that he was still playing Little League baseball and the rock group Boston had just put out its first album when Markey was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976.

“Washington is full of politicians,” he said. “If you send another one down there, you’ll get the same result.”

Gabriel Gomez, left, and U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (WBUR file photos)

Gabriel Gomez, left, and U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (WBUR file photos)

But the WBUR and WHDH polls suggest only marginal utility in the message.

Twenty-two percent of respondents to the WBUR poll say Markey’s long service in the House make them “more likely” to vote for him, 29 percent say “less likely,” and 47 percent say it “makes no difference.”

The WHDH survey tests out a Gomez line — that Markey is a “poster boy for term limits” — and doesn’t find much traction. Twenty-eight percent of voters agree with the statement, 43 percent disagree, and 27 percent are undecided.

The WHDH poll suggests Markey’s opening salvo — criticizing Gomez’s refusal to sign the “People’s Pledge,” limiting outside spending in the race — could resonate. Seventy-one percent of voters say the pledge is “very important” or “somewhat important.”

But if the critique is designed, in part, to link Gomez with the sort of conservative groups that might provide third-party funding, Markey has a ways to go. The survey found just 29 percent of voters believe Gomez is “too conservative” to represent Massachusetts.

Asked in the WBUR poll if Gomez’s positions on important issues are similar to, or different from, the national Republican Party, more than 4 in 10 voters say they don’t know or refuse to answer the question. The rest split into roughly even camps.

Markey’s financial edge will give him an opportunity to hammer the Gomez-as-conservative message as the campaign unfolds.

Courting Independents

When it comes to registered voters, Democrats hold a 3 to 1 edge on Republicans in Massachusetts. So any GOP candidate for statewide office has to build a big margin among independents to pull off a victory.

In the 2010 U.S. Senate special election, Republican Scott Brown won independents 65 to 34 percent en route to his upset victory over Democrat Martha Coakley, according to a post-election poll commissioned by The Washington Post.

The WBUR survey shows Gomez with a 38 to 35 percent lead among independents — a margin “much too small,” Koczela says, to pull off an upset.

The PPP survey gave Gomez a much larger lead among independents: 16 points. But that’s still not enough, says Koczela.

Markey has his own weakness, though. It appears that Democrats who voted for the more conservative U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch in the party primary last week haven’t fully closed ranks behind the nominee.

Markey’s edge among Democrats is 63 to 14 percent. It expands to 71 to 15 percent — with 12 percent saying they “don’t know” or are “undecided” — if leaners are included.

But “even that is not where he wants it to be,” Koczela says. “If he could win all the ‘don’t-knows’ and get it up into the 80s, that would be good for him. But if it stays down in the high-60s, low-70s or even mid-70s, that’s a problem.”

Markey’s challenge with voters in his own party separates him from Elizabeth Warren, who won 89 percent of Democrats last fall when she ousted Brown from the Bay State’s other U.S. Senate seat.

The Gender Gap

Gender is an important fault line in elections, too. Coakley edged Brown by just 3 percent among women voters in 2010 and lost. Two years later, Democrat Warren won women by 18 percent and cruised to an eight-point victory over Brown.

Markey, it appears, is in Warren territory for now.

He has a 15-point lead among women — 45 to 30 percent — in the WBUR poll. And the lead expands to 17 points if leaners are included.

Gomez, meanwhile, has a four-point edge over Markey among men — 40 to 36 percent. And the lead shrinks to three points with leaners.

That’s well short of the 14-point margin Brown built among men in the 2010 special election.

Democrats have traditionally racked up big margins among minority voters. And here, Markey’s lead is substantial, too. He’s got a 61 to 9 percent lead over Gomez among non-white voters. The lead expands to 69 to 15 percent when leaners are included.

The challenge, for Markey, will be getting minority voters to the polls in large numbers.

The Map

Brown’s upset victory in 2010 was not just about shrinking the gender gap and winning independents by a wide margin. It was also about geography.

His map included the South Shore, large swaths of Cape Cod, big chunks of Essex and Middlesex counties in the northeast part of the state, the Worcester suburbs in the middle of the state and the Springfield suburbs in the southwest corner of the state.

(Wikipedia Commons)

(Wikipedia Commons)

Gomez may have to put together something similar if he is to defeat Markey.

The WBUR poll breaks voters down into four regions — Boston and the inner suburbs, the outer Boston suburbs, southeast Massachusetts and central and western Massachusetts.

(MassINC Polling Group)

(MassINC Polling Group)

Those designations make for a less-than-perfect comparison to the Brown-Coakley contest. The central and western Massachusetts region, for instance, includes areas that went strongly for both Brown and Coakley.

But results from the WBUR poll suggest Gomez doesn’t yet have the support Brown cultivated in two key areas of the state: Boston’s outer suburbs, bending around the city from north to west to south, and the southeastern part of the state.

Markey has a 41 to 40 percent edge in the outer suburbs. And Gomez has only a one-point lead in southeast Massachusetts — 35 to 34 percent. The race is a tie in that area — 43 percent each — when leaners are included.

Gomez has an impressive 47 to 28 percent lead in central and western Massachusetts (51 to 31 percent with leaners). Markey has a lopsided 59 to 20 percent lead (68 to 22 percent with leaners) in Boston and the inner suburbs — a region that includes his congressional district.

The WBUR poll of 497 likely voters, conducted May 5-6, has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

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  • caleb taursus

    Only in God-hating country like MA can a candidate be “too conservative!”

    No such thing as too liberal I’m sure. Liberal rallying call must be “bring on the sheep, love is all that matters!”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-ONeill/1789287385 Jim O’Neill

      So liberals who support a left-wing stance are sheep but conservatives who support a right-wing stance are not?
      How so?
      As an independent, I want to know.

      • NHYankee

        I love how liberals try to wrap themselves in the independent cloak. As soon as you stated “I do not want the Republicans to remain in control of the House of Representatives” you showed that you are NOT an independent, but a typical MA left-winger.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-ONeill/1789287385 Jim O’Neill

          You are a jerk. As an independent, and former Republican, I can wish that one party controls Congress and not be a flaming liberal. All I have to understand is that one party is causing a lot of trouble. At this point in history, the Republicans are the ones doing that. So for now, I tend to vote Democratic in national elections and split my ticket locally.
          Once again, your post indicates that you are a jerk. Have a good day.

          • NHYankee

            Wow, the truth struck a raw nerve.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-ONeill/1789287385 Jim O’Neill

            No raw nerve, just defining someone like you who thinks the whole world is either black or white and has no shades of gray. Narrow minded people, such as you, will never be able to consider what others are writing about. There is a very big world out there beyond Talk Radio. You ought to explore it.

          • NHYankee

            Oh, your so witty. Gee… I feel so put down. Typical liberal, when you can’t argue your point you revert to name-calling. I happen to be a true independent who looks at the person, not their party when I choose, and I take affront when people like you calling yourself something you obviously are not. Find a new ploy or learn to speak the truth.

            Good night.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-ONeill/1789287385 Jim O’Neill

            Tell it on the mountain NHYankee. I don’t hide behind some Anonymous hashtag but have my picture and full name next to my post.
            You sir are scared to stand up for what you claim you believe. I guess jerk is not enough, chicken may also apply to you. Just who are you? I bet you will not let us know. Chicken?

          • NHYankee

            Thank you for proving my point.

          • dust truck

            Proving what point? You’re starting to sound irrational. Besides you threw around “liberal” like it was some insult earlier, so who is calling names now? hmm?

          • fred

            Any body who calls someone a name, I tend to dismiss as not beingature enough to sway my thinking.

        • Tipsy McStagger

          How does not wanting the GOP to control the House make a voter not an independent? This isn’t a binary system, by which failure to support one of the major parties means that you automatically support the other. Greens for example, run against Democratic candidates from the left but oppose GOP control of the House (and just about anything else). Libertarians often oppose the GOP but don’t want the Democrats to win, either.

    • WalnutGallery

      We don’t hate god. How do you hate something that doesn’t even exist?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-ONeill/1789287385 Jim O’Neill

    At this point in our nation’s history, I do not want the Republicans to remain in control of the House of Representatives and I hope they do not take control of the Senate. We have had legislative constipation for too many years and since President Obama has been re-elected, the last thing we need is legislative constipation for the remainder of his second term.
    I blame the Republicans for the legislative constipation. Therefore, unless there is a clear significant difference between two candidates, and the Republican is clearly the better candidate, I will vote Democratic for now.
    There are worse things than electing someone who has been in Congress since 1976 and having the current disfunctional Republican leadership in control is one of them.

    • dust truck

      sad but true

    • http://www.facebook.com/kerry.penn.3 Kerry Penn

      All you have to do is look at both sides, not just the democrat propaganda and you will see that the democrat party is creating a lot of damage to the U.S. morally, economically and defensively. How can anyone approve of a president or political party that supports and promotes sodomy, baby killings and Islam?
      AND will have doubled the national debt in just 8 years.

      • sam_bone

        Not to feed the troll, but how does one “promote” sodomy? Not that anything else you said made any sense either.

      • WalnutGallery

        your trolling is a tinge too obvious but good effort

      • Bill

        How does any politician hurt the country morally? Mr. Perry, you need to stop depending on government for your moral compass. Hurting the country “defensively” doesn’t even make sense, so I can’t respond to that. Regarding economically, virtually every economic indicator has improved since Obama has been in office. The debt would be much lower if the GOP would allow us to tax the rich more.

    • jaimevandale

      Yea, we miss the days of 2007-2011 with Pelosi and the democrats running the House…lol. Probably the worse four years in the history of the House of Representatives. Maybe she can pass more enormous bills without anyone reading them.
      “At this point in history”, we don’t need anymore partisan hacks voting with their only criteria on whether a person has a D or R next to their name.
      Get a clue Jimmy.

      • WalnutGallery

        I wouldn’t say I vote FOR democrats so much as I vote AGAINST republicans.

      • CEMQ


        I don’t where you have been, but it must have been a hole in the ground.

        The problem with Republicans is themselves. They are willing to do anything to stop President Obama, even when it harms the Nation. They are willing to bankrupt the country in order to do the bidding og the likes of the Koch Brothers.

        Don’t kid yourself. A vote for Gomez is a vote for the tea party. It is a vote for the same old tired policies of the right. It is a vote for the same old bend over policies that destroy the middle class, ruin the poor, destroy public education and concentrate wealth and power in the hands of large corporations.

        • John O’Connell

          Gomez is NOT a Tea Partier. Maybe if you actually read his policies and views you would learn something @CEMQ:disqus

          • CEMQ

            John O’Connell,

            If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck…..

            Guess what! It is a duck.

            Gomez is against womens’s right to choose, he’s in favor of “border security” a euphemism for harassing Latinos and non- European immigrants.

            The policies he favors work against the interests of middle, working class and poor people.

            He is in favor of the NRA and their policies. Unfettered access to weapons without any controls.

            As several of my Latino friends have said, he can speak Spanish, he can sound like some of us, but he is not for us.

            And I would add he is a Latino version of Supreme Court Justice Thomas.

            I say again, he is a Teapartier, with all the craziness and racism of those folks.

            It is you who has to do some reading. Wake up! Gomez would be worse than Brown.

          • John O’Connell

            “Gomez is against a women’s right to choose”- False
            “Access to weapons without any controls”- False
            You may be able to identify ducks but Gabriel Gomez no. He wants to pass a bill that would enforce background checks for anyone purchasing firearms. These background checks would mean that anyone deemed mentally unstable or with any federal crimes would not be allowed to purchase a gun. Also, Gomez is essentially pro-choice. Just because he states that he personally is pro-life having been raised Catholic doesn’t mean that is his stance. He has openly stated he would NOT challenge Roe v. Wade as it is set in law. And yes Mr. Gomez believes in securing the border. I guess you are open to keep allowing illegal immigrants enter our country without having to pay taxes or other civic duties. After securing the border, it is Gomez’s policy to make achieving citizenship much easier and accessible to people trying to enter our country. So CEMQ, YOU wake up. YOU do the reading. And maybe, you will realize what the right choice is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.jarboe Greg Jarboe

    I’ve known Ed Market since 1974. He was independent then and he’s still independent now. The Democratic House Leadership moved his office into the basement when he wouldn’t toe the line and he turned that into a campaign commercial that said, “They can tell me where to sit, but they can’t tell me where to stand.” He’s earned my trust and my vote.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      ed market sounds great but what about ed markey?

    • John O’Connell

      You may have misinterpreted the meaning of the word independent, exactly the opposite of Ed Markey who has only voted for his party during his 37 years. Including: never voting to lower a tax, raising taxes 291 times, and his own pay 6 times (40% increase).

  • Flitzy

    Honestly, calling Brown’s win in 2010 shocking is kind of disingenuous. He won because Coakley ran a terrible campaign not because he was any good.

    And how is Gomez playing the “not from Washington” card? I’m pretty sure we’ve seen how badly the freshmen tea partiers that tried that in 2010 have already messed things up. People don’t want to elect people that have no experience and no business in Washington.

    Right now, Democratic majorities in the House and Senate are the only thing that will solve any problems. We don’t need any more Republicans in Washington; they cause nothing but problems.

    • ChasInNJ

      Scott Brown won in 2010 because people were seeing crooked Taxachusetts politicians doing the perp walk on the local news every night.

      All it’ll take to elect Gomez is one nice EBT scandal this month or next.

      • dust truck

        Really? Coakley insulting the Red Sox didn’t have anything to do with it? lolz

      • Flitzy

        Oops, so we got the scandal but I don’t think Gomez is going to like it. ;)

        Nothing like scamming the IRS to try and get yourself elected to the Senate.

  • http://twitter.com/Couranto Couranto

    The photo of Markey is the definition of political slime – a career carpetbagger.

    • Tipsy McStagger

      Markey was born in Malden Mass. Got his undergrad and JD from BC. He represented MA in the State House of Reps. and has represented MA in the US House since 1976. That is not a carpetbagger.

      • dust truck

        I suspect that Couranto is a SC voter who recently elected Mark Sanford into the Senate and is upset that MA might elect someone who will call Sanford out on his lies.

    • Jake Javenson

      What do you think “carpetbagger” means?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-ONeill/1789287385 Jim O’Neill

      Carpetbaggers were Yankees who went to the South after the Civil War and tried to take the place over. In the South, they are considered political scum and they probably were.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-ONeill/1789287385 Jim O’Neill

        By the way, they got their name from the luggage they had. Their luggage was made of carpet.

    • http://profiles.google.com/geoffrey.feldman Geoffrey Feldman

      That’s a content free and utterly ridiculous on the facts comment.

      If you want whomever to win, you will have to rise above school yard taunts and pointless remarks.

    • Flitzy

      Unlike Mitt Romney and Scott Brown, who loves Massachusetts so much he owns a house in New Hampshire and is fleeing up there to run because nobody likes him here?

  • http://www.facebook.com/WilliamC28 William C.

    I wonder how many people will discover that democracy doesn’t work, and that their vote is statistically insignificant to the point that in general voting an illogical action as the costs (gas, time, energy) out weigh the benefits that the politician may actually represent your positions, and that somehow, your vote out of millions and millions of others will somehow matter.

    • http://profiles.google.com/geoffrey.feldman Geoffrey Feldman

      What an ill and ridiculous opinion. With jerks like you, where would this country be? Crawl in your hole.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.longland Richard Longland

    I’ve been extremely disappointed with Markey countless times over the years. In our neighborhood, a developer is intent on bulldozing a beautiful mountain and putting in “affordable” housing. 100% of the area residents oppose it. Our repeated pleas and visits to Markey’s office have fallen on deaf ears. He clearly does not care about us. I’ve heard that developers money line his silken pockets; this is the only plausible explanation for his absurd disregard for the safety and quality of life for hundred of families in Woburn.

  • h rutner

    It’s time to sent dinosaur Markey and numerous others to pasture and elect Gomez who favors long overdue term limits for all elected professional pols who run committees like personal fiefdoms.

  • donniethebrasco

    Since the supporting the Obama Administration is the op/ed policy and overall purpose of this station, we will argue that Bush and Reagan and Nixon did things that were worse.

    We won’t talk about what the Obama Administration has done, but use this as an opportunity to talk about the Iraq war, the Iran-Contra Arms dealing, and Watergate.

  • Hatgrease

    I would like to remind everyone that the country has suffered equally under Republican and Democratic control, we need good, quality representatives from both parties. Gomez is the best choice in this election, if you are so concerned about which party controls the senate than I have a crazy idea: work to eliminate caucusing with a party in the senate.

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