Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Special-Election Polling Doesn’t Match 2010 Upset #MASEN

Brown's 2010 success likely won't be repeated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown, who lost a bid for a full term in November, will make his first appearance on the Massachusetts special-election campaign trail June 24. But a day before the election, the race will likely look more like his November 2012 loss than his January 2010 upset.

Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez’s team remains optimistic based on a solid Tuesday debate performance and a recent internal poll that showed him within striking distance of Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass. Plus, turnout is unpredictable in any special election.

But even if Gomez is still down just 7 points internally, public polls released this week don’t offer any evidence of a surge of support like the one that lifted Brown to a 5-point special-election victory on Jan. 19, 2010:

  • Ten days before the 2010 special election, the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling released a poll showing Brown ahead by a single point.
  • Five days before the election, a Suffolk University survey had him ahead by 4 points. Like the PPP poll, Brown’s lead was within the margin of error. But it was a drastic shift from the double-digit deficits just a couple of weeks before the election.
  • In the final days, nearly every poll released had Brown leading by 5 points to 10 points.

In contrast, Markey has led in every public poll with no recent signs of lagging:

  • Ten days before the 2013 special, a Boston Globe poll found Markey ahead by 11 points.
  • On Thursday, five days before the special, the Boston Herald published a poll that showed Markey taking a 20-point lead.
  • The polling average is currently at 11 points.

In a state where Republicans begin any statewide federal race behind, the atmospherics of this year’s race were far less helpful for the GOP than in 2010. Meanwhile, Democrats have flooded the state with TV ads and high-profile surrogates — Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will rally supporters there on Saturday.

Combined, it made the race a steeper climb for Gomez than for Brown.

  • Rob_Chapman

    The Boston Herald tends to target a more conservative readership, that it shows Markey ahead indicates the normal Massachusetts voting tendencies will assert themselves.

    Markey will be elected to the US Senate.

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