Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has the backing of the Democratic establishment, but a poll out Friday suggested that he may not have the party's nomination in the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election sewn up just yet.
The survey from MassINC Polling Group, conducted on behalf of Boston-based public radio station WBUR, showed Markey holding a 7-point edge over Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) among Democrats and likely Democratic primary voters.
The congressmen claim roughly equal favorability ratings and statewide name recognition, according to the poll. Twenty-nine percent of registered Bay State voters have a favorable opinion of both candidates, while 19 percent have an unfavorable view of Markey and 12 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Lynch. The poll found 30 percent have no opinion of Lynch, while 26 percent have no opinion of Markey.
A moderate Democrat, Lynch represents a contrast to the more liberal Markey. The poll may be something of a wake up call for Markey, who had been pegged as a strong favorite to be the Democratic nominee. A survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling last month showed Markey trouncing Lynch in a hypothetical primary. Friday's poll showed both Markey and Lynch with wide leads over Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow in hypothetical special election matchups. The poll did not test the other GOP candidates who have declared in the race: former congressional candidate Sean Bielat and businessman Gabriel Gomez.
The primaries for both parties will be held April 30, while the special election is scheduled for June 25.