Poll: Massachusetts Dem leads primary challenger by single digits

Poll: Massachusetts Dem leads primary challenger by single digits
© Greg Nash

A new poll shows the Democratic challenger to Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) within single digits ahead of the primary.

According to an Emerson College poll released Monday, Capuano has a 9 point lead over his Democratic challenger, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. Capuano has 38 percent support to Pressley's 29, but a sizable 33 percent of voters say they are still undecided.

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The challenge to Capuano, a 10-term incumbent in Massachusetts 7th Congressional District, is already drawing parallels to the race in New York's 14th District, which saw Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) upset by newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist.

Crowley was the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and seen as a potential Speaker for the party. The victory of Ocasio-Cortez, a former organizer for Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersCory Booker addresses speculation about his sexuality: 'I'm heterosexual' O’Rourke: Asking whether he is ready for White House is a ‘great question’ Former Trump aide: President has 'thick skin’ MORE's (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, shocked the Democratic establishment.

Ocasio-Cortez has already endorsed Pressley, and on Twitter the two candidates have posted photos and videos of themselves together and highlighted the similarities between their campaigns.

Pressley congratulated Ocasio-Cortez after her win, declaring, “Together, we will change the world.”

The Emerson poll found both Capuano and Pressley popular with Democratic voters. Capuano has a 61-16 favorable to unfavorable split, with Pressley at 46 to 21.

Pressley leads Capuano among black voters, 34 to 27 percent, and among Hispanics, 30 to 18 percent.

Younger voters aged 18 to 34 also favor her over Capuano. But the incumbent leads her in all other age groups.

The poll did find that Capuano tops Pressley among female voters, 41 to 26 percent, and among likely voters, 51 to 24 percent.

“Pressley has more work to do to get her voters to the polls on September 4,” said assistant professor Spencer Kimball, who directs the Emerson poll.

Pressley also backs abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily says Trump travel ban preventing mother from seeing dying son Saudi Arabia rejects Senate position on Khashoggi killing Five things to know about the Trump inauguration investigation MORE's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

But those calls from progressives have split the Democratic Party, with centrists and party leaders reluctant to back eliminating the agency.

The poll found that 29 percent back abolishing ICE, compared to 43 percent who do not want it abolished. Twenty-eight percent are unsure.

The poll has a margin of error of 5.2 percentage points and was conducted with 400 voters from July 19 to 21.