With a little more than a week left before the special election primary in Massachusetts, Rep. Edward Markey holds a 10-point lead in the Democratic primary over Rep. Stephen Lynch, according to a Western New England University Polling Institute survey unveiled late Saturday by the Republican of Springfield. Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez has a narrow lead on the Republican side, the poll shows.
The campaign to replace Secretary of State John Kerry spent a week on hold following the attack at the Boston Marathon on Monday and the ensuing police investigation, but the race is set to resume mostly normal activity in the last full week before the primary. The Western New England University poll was conducted April 11 through April 18.
Markey leads Lynch, 44 percent to 34 percent, but his advantage is considered within the margin of error of plus-or-minus 6 percentage points. Twenty-one percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they are undecided between the two congressmen, and 36 percent said they might still change their minds. Lynch leads, 41 percent to 35 percent, among independent voters.
Markey has been considered the frontrunner since the beginning of the race thanks to his establishment support and financial edge. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week, Markey, who began the race with more than three times as much cash as Lynch, raised more than $4.7 million from January 1 through April 10, while Lynch brought in $1.5 million during the same period of time. Markey has a huge advantage in cash on hand, reporting having more than $4.6 million in the bank compared to Lynch's $514,000.
In the race for the GOP nomination, Gomez leads former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, 33 percent to 27 percent, while state Rep. Dan Winslow receives 9 percent in the poll. The margin of error for the subsample of likely GOP primary voters is plus-or-minus 9 points, and 30 percent of respondents are undecided.
Gomez ran in the Boston Marathon on Sunday, finishing the race minutes before the explosions. A poll conducted for his campaign earlier this month showed Gomez in a dead heat with Sullivan. Viewed as the most conservative of the three candidates, Sullivan had been considered the early frontrunner in the race. FEC filings for Sullivan and Winslow show both candidates raised less than $250,000 through April 10 and had little cash on hand. Gomez's report wasn't available on the FEC's website as of early Sunday.
In hypothetical general election matchups, both Democrats hold double-digit advantages over the Republicans, but Lynch leads by wider margins. Markey outpaces his potential GOP foes by a margin of 15 to 19 percentage points, while Lynch leads the Republicans by 32 to 36 percentage points.
The survey of 480 likely special election voters, conducted for the Republican and WSHM-TV in Springfield, has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.5 percentage points. The subsample of 270 likely Democratic primary voters carries a margin of error of plus-or-minus 6 percentage points, and the subsample of 128 likely GOP primary voters has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 9 percentage points. The primary is scheduled for April 30, with the two nominees set to meet on June 25.