EXCLUSIVE: NEW MASSACHUSETTS SENATE POLL SHOWS A TIGHT RACE
A new poll on the Massachusetts Senate Primary race has just been released, detailing a very close race even as the election draws near. The poll, released by JMC Analytics and conducted from July 30-31st, shows 40% of Likely voters would support electing Senator Ed Markey compared to 36% of Likely voters who support Joe Kennedy. This should be a sign of excitement for the Markey campaign as they have had only one poll showing the incumbent senator in the lead, and now this poll showing a 4 point lead for him could very well give the campaign the confidence boost it needs.
Still, despite showing Markey in the lead, the poll does note that this is still a very tight race. 24% of voters are still undecided in who they will chose for the primary on September 1st. In a question regarding said undecideds on who they would vote for, it presents an even closer race, with Markey earning 44% of undecideds vs Kennedy's 41%. It appears that the more undecideds there are, the advantage would go to Kennedy.
The poll also asked questions regarding wether Markey's experience or Kennedy's family legacy would be deciding factors on how a vote is cast. For Markey's experience, 30% of voters said that yes, his experience would be a deciding factor to vote for or against him, an even split on the question. For Kennedy's legacy, a similar split was found, with 20% of voters being more likely to vote for him while 24% of voters would not vote for him. That being said, the poll notes that a majority of voters found that both of these matters would not make that much of a difference regarding how they would vote.
Looking at the cross tabs of the poll, you can begin to understand where each candidate does better with certain groups. As mentioned before, Kennedy does better with independent voters, while Markey does better with registered Democrats. In terms of voting preference by education, Markey does much better with those with higher education degrees vs Kennedy who has the advantage with those with a lower education. From the poll, Kennedy trounces Markey in the, "high school diploma" and "some college categories" with 56% to 19% and 35% to 28% respectively, while Markey edges out the "four year degree" and "graduate or professional" areas with 44% to 30% and 50% to 35% respectively.
In terms of voter choice by age, Kennedy does well with the 55-64 age group with a 9 point lead and is close to Markey in the 65+ age group with only a 1 point deficit. Markey however continues to be strong with younger voters with a massive 24 point lead with the 18-34 demographic and a 14 point lead with 35-54 year olds. It should be noted of course that when you add the undecided leaners into the mix, the race becomes closer.
Geographic wise, Markey has his strongest support in the northern Boston suburbs and counties such as Middlesex and Essex Counties, while Kennedy does best south of Boston, in Norfolk County and South Eastern Massachusetts. Strangely, one area that Markey appears to be doing REALLY well in this poll is Plymouth County, with him polling 46% to Kennedy's 32%. Plymouth County isn't considered to be a good area for Markey from the standpoint of pundits and Massachusetts politics experts due to how considerably moderate its voters are. But, if Markey somehow manages to pull off this number in the election, Kennedy is in serious trouble.
So what can we learn from this poll? Frankly, this election will be a close one. Both candidates only have a month left and need to make a final push to truly secure this election for either one of them. For Markey, he needs to make sure Kennedy doesn't bleed out his support from older voters as well as to keep him away from winning Western Massachusetts counties. For Kennedy, he needs Plymouth County to win, and again, if Markey is truly making gains in this county, action needs to be taken quickly. Kennedy would also benefit from earning some support from the "4 year degree" education category, though that will be a hard group to please as they have taken a serious liking to Markey. That said, there is one more month to go and it is clear that this race is a tossup, anything can happen at this point.
Full poll can be found here. Poll conducted by JMC analytics,