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Markey leads Kennedy by 12 points in Massachusetts Senate primary: poll

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A new poll finds Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) leading Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) by 12 points ahead of their upcoming Massachusetts Senate primary as he fights to keep his seat in the upper chamber. 

The Emerson College poll released Friday shows Markey leading with 56 percent support of likely voters, compared with 44 percent for Kennedy. 

Markey’s lead appears to be fueled by strong support among self-identified Democrats, who back him by a 61-39 percent margin. Independents narrowly lean Markey’s way by a 51-49 percent margin. The senator also is winning among young voters, winning 70 percent support from voters between the ages of 18 and 29. 

Kennedy, meanwhile, garners 66 percent support among those with a high school diploma or lower, though he trails with all other educational groups.

Overall, 60 percent of likely voters think Markey will be reelected, while 40 percent expect that Kennedy will win the Senate seat.

Earlier polls had shown Kennedy, the scion of one of the nation’s most famed political dynasties, with substantial leads over Markey, who won his seat in a 2013 special election. But Markey has come out ahead in recent surveys, including a UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion poll released Wednesday showing him with a 12-point lead and a Data for Progress poll showing him leading Kennedy by 8 points.

Markey has worked in recent years to bolster his progressive bona fides, forming alliances with “the squad” of House progressives and coming out in support of liberal priorities like the Green New Deal. Kennedy, meanwhile, has campaigned on a message of generational change while adopting a more moderate tone.

“It appears that Markey was able to re-define himself over the summer as a Bernie Sanders style progressive which allowed him to win over previous supporters of Kennedy, whose more moderate positions might have caused early supporters to shift to Markey,” said Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson College Polling.

The contentious primary has lately been characterized by personal broadsides between Markey and Kennedy and reopened fissures within the Democratic Party. Progressives have rallied behind the senator’s reelection bid, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) drew liberals’ ire when she endorsed Kennedy.

Whichever candidate wins the Sept. 1 primary will be the heavy favorite to hold the seat in the deep blue state.

The Emerson College poll surveyed 453 likely voters from Aug. 25-27 and has a margin of error of 4.6 percent.

Tags Bernie Sanders Ed Markey Ed Markey Joe Kennedy Joe Kennedy Nancy Pelosi United States Senate election in Massachusetts

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