Rep. Ed Markey has opened up a sizable lead on Rep. Stephen Lynch in their special election to replace former Sen. John Kerry. The new poll was released Tuesday. With only a few weeks left in the race, Markey appears poised to win the Democratic nomination.
The poll , conducted by Public Policy Polling, was conducted on March 26-27. Out of 496 likely Democratic voters, Markey enjoyed a 17-point lead over Lynch, 49-32 percent. An earlier PPP poll, taken in February just after the candidates declared, had Markey ahead of Lynch by 15 points, 43-28 percent.
Markey also had a considerable favorability lead in the poll over Lynch. Sixty-seven percent of respondents had a positive opinion of Markey, compared to only 18 percent with a negative view of the long-time representative. Lynch has only viewed favorably by 44 percent of respondents, with 30 percent feeling unfavorable.
The poll, sponsored by the League of Conservation voters, had a 4.4 percent margin of error.
In January, Markey received an endorsement from the League. In a statement at the time, Scott Nathan, Chairman of the League of Conservation Voters, said, "(Markey) has never stopped fighting for Massachusetts -- promoting new technologies and green jobs, standing up to corporate polluters, and putting the health of our families first. Ed Markey is the leader Massachusetts needs in the U.S. Senate."
The new poll shows improvement for Markey over a previous poll conducted a week earlier in March. In a poll conducted by WBUR/Mass Inc ., Lynch only trailed Markey by 11 points, 35-24 percent. Lynch was actually viewed more favorably than Markey in the poll, 37 percent to 32 percent, while Markey had a higher unfavorability rating, 23 percent to 12 percent. In a good sign for their party, both Democratic candidates were preferred over their Republican rivals for the general election. The poll, conducted March 19-21, surveyed 610 likely voters.
The Road Ahead
Three Republicans -- Michael Sullivan, Dan Winslow and Gabriel Gomez -- are running for their party's nomination. The two Democratic candidates are scheduled for at least two more debates before the primary, one on April 18 and another on April 22. The Republican candidates will meet in at least four more debates before the primary. The primary for both parties is scheduled for April 30, with the general election slated for June 25.
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