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Kennedy, Markey neck-and-neck in Massachusetts primary: poll

Kennedy, Markey neck-and-neck in Massachusetts primary: poll
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Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyConor Lamb defeats Trump-backed challenger for reelection in Pennsylvania Van Drew fends off challenge from Kennedy after party switch Markey wins reelection in Massachusetts MORE III (D-Mass.) are neck-and-neck in the Bay State's Democratic Senate primary, according to the latest polling of the race.

A University of Massachusetts Lowell survey released on Friday shows Kennedy leading among the state's Democratic primary voters, though well within the poll's margin of error, at 35 percent support. Markey garnered 34 percent support. Twenty-three percent of those polled said they were undecided.

The same survey showed both candidates with high favorable ratings and low unfavorable ratings. Kennedy carries a 57 percent favorable rating and a 12 percent unfavorable rating among Massachusetts primary voters, while Markey has a 55 percent favorable and a 14 percent unfavorable rating. 

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The polling appears to show a tightening contest between the two progressive lawmakers in a race that has divided Democrats both in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

A Suffolk University poll conducted last September before Kennedy announced his challenge showed the congressman leading with 35 percent support, while Markey garnered 26 percent. 

Kennedy led Markey on a number of topic-based questions in the survey, including the environment, which has long been one of Markey's key issues.

Thirty-four percent of those polled said Kennedy would "fight harder for the environment," while 29 percent said the same about Markey. 

The Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary will take place on Sept. 1. 

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The two lawmakers met face to face in the primary's first debate in Boston's Brighton neighborhood on Tuesday, sparring on a number of different issues including foreign policy and campaign finance. 

Kennedy, 39, the grandson of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, is basing his campaign off of bringing new ideas and generational change to the Senate. Kennedy has homed in on the issues of health care and immigration throughout his campaign. The seat he is running for was once held by his great-uncles former Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) and former President John F. Kennedy. 

Markey, on the other hand, is touting his experience, being the longest-serving member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation. He is also the original champion of the Green New Deal. 

The University of Massachusetts Lowell poll was conducted Feb. 12–19 among 450 likely Democratic Massachusetts primary voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 6.1 percentage points.