The Massachusetts special election is well underway to fill John Kerry’s vacant seat, now that he is President Obama’s new Secretary of State. Democrat Edward Markey faces his Republican counterpart, Gabriel Gomez. The first poll numbers have been released, and Rep. Markey appears to be the strong frontrunner for now. With Massachusetts voters historically voting Democrat, Markey’s future looks promising as the Bay State’s new senator.
Markey secured victories in several polls thus far. An April 11-18 Western New England University poll indicated 51% in favor of Markey to Gomez’s 36%, awarding Markey with a 15-point lead. With a sample size of 589, a March 2-5 UMass Lowell/Boston Herald poll found a 19-point disparity between candidates; Markey having 47% of respondents in favor, and Gomez only having 28% favorability.
Another poll released Friday from Public Policy Polling (PPP) served as another Markey victory, however the Democrat only won by a narrow 4-point margin. The poll also uncovered interesting information on the Republican contender Gabriel Gomez. Gomez was awarded 41% of registered Republicans’ favorability, to 27% feeling unfavorable, leaving the remainder of voters having no opinion.
The independent electorate will be crucial in this election, in that they may determine a possible Republican victory. This became the case for Republican Scott Brown when he won the special senate election in 2010. Brown’s victory made the candidate an outlier for a state that is predominately liberal. As of now, PPP reports that Gomez scored 42/24 among registered Democrats. In order to emulate Brown, these numbers will need to increase. Markey scored poorly with state independents, with 31/50 percent favorable vs. unfavorable ratings.
Rep. Markey represents the 5th District and is a strong advocate for increased social welfare programs alongside many of his Democratic counterparts. Gabriel Gomez is a successful businessman who resides in Cohasset, Mass. This former Navy SEAL will most likely take after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and use his business expertise to take a stance on various policies.
Markey now holds a strong lead against Gomez, however that is subject to change. While the possibility still remains for this election to become a close one, like that of the 2010 special election, another Democratic victory is highly likely. With the Massachusetts electorate holding predominately liberal values, Markey’s chances of gaining the vacant seat are high.