Markey holds slight, consistent lead over Gomez in new polls

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Both surveys give Markey a 7-percentage-point lead over Gomez, a result that aligns closely to most recent polls, which have shown it to be a single-digit race.

One poll, released Tuesday from WBUR and MassINC polling, shows Markey with 46 percent support to Gomez's 39 percent.

That's similar to the early-May WBUR poll that gave Markey an 8-percentage-point lead.

Gomez has slightly expanded his lead among independent voters to 5 percentage points, but Markey has also expanded his substantial lead among female voters, and now has a 20-percentage-point lead with that demographic.

The poll was conducted among 500 likely voters from June 6-9, following the first televised debate of the general election, during which Markey pounced on comments from Gomez on abortion that Markey's campaign later went on to characterize as contrary to women's best interests.

The WBUR poll also suggests Gomez's message, of being a "new kind of Republican" with a compelling personal story, isn't resonating with Massachusetts voters. Seventy-two percent of voters said it's very important that the candidate they back agrees with them on key issues — a percentage that, in a state as blue as Massachusetts, doesn't bode well for Gomez.

Another 60 percent say the candidate's willingness to stand up for women's issues is a very important factor as well. 

That's opposed to the quarter of voters who say a candidate's likability is a very important factor, after Gomez has spent much of his campaign working to connect on a personal level with voters.

The WBUR poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Another poll, out from Suffolk University on Monday, gave Markey 48 percent support to Gomez's 41 percent support, but indicated his lead has diminished significantly from May, when he had a 17-percentage-point lead over Gomez.

That declining lead comes in tandem with President Obama's waning popularity in the state. 

According to the Suffolk University poll, 60 percent of voters view Obama favorably, down from 67 percent. Thirty-five percent view Obama unfavorably, up from 29 percent.

Massachusetts voters are also less happy with Obama's job performance. Where 63 percent approved of his job performance in May, 57 percent approve in this new poll.

Those new job approval numbers may complicate what Democrats hope will be a helpful campaign stop by Obama for Markey on Wednesday.

The Suffolk University poll was conducted among 500 likely voters from June 6-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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