A new poll from Suffolk University finds Gabriel Gomez gaining considerable ground against Democrat Rep. Ed Markey in the special Senate election. Last month, Markey led Gomez by 17 points in the poll. Today, he leads by just 7 points. At this point in the special election in 2010, Martha Coakley led eventual winner Scott Brown by 9 points.
Overall, 48% of voters support Markey, while 41% back Gomez. A significant drop in support from women and independents fueled Markey’s drop in the polls. The Democrat leads Gomez among women, 47-31. This is down from a 56-33 margin in May. Gomez now leads Markey among independents by 10 points, 46-36.
David Paleogolas, director of polling at Suffolk, said that “voters seem to be pulling back or pausing” on support for Markey in the wake of recent scandals engulfing the Obama Administration. Obama’s approval in the commonwealth, while relatively high at 57%, has fallen from 63% in the last month. Obama is scheduled to campaign for Markey on Wednesday.
Markey, who entered Congress during the Nixon Administration, is relying on support from the entire national Democrat infrastructure to prevail. Joe Biden, Al Gore and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz have recently campaigned for Markey. The Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race.
The strategy, however, could back-fire as the extent of current scandals grows. By aligning himself so closely with the Obama Administration, Markey’s candidacy could become a proxy for it, offering voters a chance to register their disapproval.
Markey and his allies have relentlessly attacked Gomez, attempting to tie the former Navy Seal to the national GOP brand and accusing him of being a loyal foot soldier in the mythical “war on women.” Markey’s falling support among women and Gomez’s strength among independents suggest this stale strategy isn’t working.
The candidates meet for their second debate Tuesday night. The special election is June 25. Gomez is positioned to score a huge upset in the special election. It would earn the GOP an additional vote in the Senate, ahead of critical budget and debt talks.