SENATE SPECIAL ELECTION
4:31 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Poll: Markey Leads Lynch, But Voters Not Tuned in Yet

Credit AP Photos

The UMass Lowell-Boston Herald poll released Wednesday night shows Representative Ed Markey holding a wide lead over his Democratic rival for the Senate, fellow Representative Stephen Lynch.

Josh Dyck, co-director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, said while Markey is the clear front runner right now, the race reflects something larger.

“Massachusetts voters are pretty disconnected from this race and politics in general right now,” he said. “That disconnect could mean one of two things. One is that there is a large opportunity for support to change as the campaign evolves. The only problem with that is that that antipathy could just play over into the general election and turn into a low stimulus, low-turnout affair.”

Markey leads Lynch by 29.5 percentage points among potential Democratic primary voters, but Dyck says it’s primarily because he’s the most well-known.

“In this poll, half of voters classify Markey as a no-opinion/never heard of,” Dyck said. “So he’s just the most well-known, but really the tag line here is that none of these candidates have the kind of statewide knowledge about them.”

Markey’s Democratic opponent Stephen Lynch is even less well known, along with the Republican candidates, state Rep. Daniel Winslow, former Navy SEAL Gabriel E. Gomez, and former U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan. About 42 percent of those surveyed said they had no opinion of Lynch and 19 percent said they had never heard of him. 79 percent of voters had never heard of Sullivan or Gomez, and 70 percent said the same about Winslow.

Dyck said there is large opportunity for support to change as the campaign evolves.

“In a campaign like this-- an abbreviated campaign like this -- little things can mean a lot, particularly in primaries,” he said. "Little things can mean a lot, and a great ground game can ultimately win the candidate the election. But if this is in fact a low-stimulus election that people aren't paying attention to, and the general election is in June, when people are thinking about going out to the Cape for the week, we may have a hard time generating a high voter turnout for this election."