By Justin Sink
A second poll released this week shows Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) holding a single-digit lead over Republican Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez, a further indication that the race for Secretary of State John Kerry's former seat could be tighter than anticipated.
But the narrow advantages are an early disappointment for Markey, who was thought to have an easy path to the Senate after prevailing in Tuesday's Democratic primary. More than 60 percent of Massachusetts voters chose President Obama in 2012, despite former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney earning the Republican nomination.
The Emerson College survey found that both candidates enjoy relatively high favorability ratings — Markey at 48 percent and Gomez at 45 percent — and that Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, enjoyed broad support from independents and men. According to the survey, those without a party affiliation are breaking for Gomez 46-25 percent, while men back Gomez 44-37 percent.
Still, Markey has an advantage among females at 46-29 percent, and enjoys a concentrated base of support within the city of Boston, where he holds a 57-19 percent lead. And Markey holds both a sizable fundraising advantage and the backing of the White House - first lady Michelle Obama has already scheduled a Boston fundraiser in support of his campaign.
Still, Democrats remain wary of taking the special election for granted after 2010, when former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) upset Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Massachusetts votes head to the polls on June 25.