Markey holds double-digit lead in Massachusetts Senate race, poll says

Republicans remain hopeful that they can be competitive in next week's special Senate election in Massachusetts, but a new Boston Globe poll shows they are facing a steep uphill battle.

Rep. Ed Markey (D) leads Republican Gabriel Gomez 54 percent to 41 percent in the race to fill the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, the Globe reports.

That double-digit gap is bigger than the margin reported in two polls last week, both of which showed Gomez down seven points. One of the polls suggested the momentum was in Gomez's favor.

University of New Hampshire pollster Andrew Smith, who conducted the Globe poll, said there is little evidence of the type of factors that contributed to the GOP's upset win in the 2010 Massachusetts special election.

He noted in an interview with WBUR that Gomez's strategy of arguing that Markey has been in Washington too long doesn't appear to move the needle, with 29 percent of voters saying it makes them less likely to support Markey and 24 percent saying it makes them more likely.

Gomez in recent days has started getting more support from conservative outside groups, and Markey's campaign has gotten help from President Obama, former president Bill Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama -- all developments that suggest a potentially competitive race.

The special election is set for June 25.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · June 17, 2013