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HomeNewsVP ‘Tag Team’ Shows Dems Are Worried About Mass. Senate Race

VP ‘Tag Team’ Shows Dems Are Worried About Mass. Senate Race

Gabriel Gomez, right, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the Massachusetts open seat special election, points something out to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani during a walk on Boylston Street in Boston, Thursday, June 6, 2013. Photo: Elise Amendola

The other day I received an email from Jill Neunaber citing a poll by McLaughlin and Associates released the prior night that found that the race is a dead heat and that “we’re down by just 1 point to 37-year Democrat incumbent Congressman Ed Markey.” There were some indicators that the race could bode well for Gomez, as almost 11% of likely voters are still undecided, but suffice it to say it is heavy lift for the GOP.

However, then this report came out in the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Democratic vice presidents are teaming up to head off a Republican victory in Massachusetts’ special Senate election.

The White House says Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Al Gore will attend a fundraiser in Washington on Tuesday for Rep. Ed Markey. He’s running to replace former Sen. John Kerry, who stepped down to become secretary of state.

Markey won’t be at the fundraiser. He’ll be participating in a debate in Massachusetts that night.

Democrats have been sending in their biggest players ahead of the June 25 election. President Barack Obama heads to Boston Wednesday; first lady Michelle Obama made the trip last month.

Democrats are hoping to avoid a repeat of 2010, when Republican Scott Brown won a special Senate election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, even though Massachusetts leans heavily Democratic.

Markey’s campaign says Vicki Kennedy, the senator’s widow, will also attend Tuesday’s fundraiser.

The Boston Globe first reported Gore and Biden’s appearances.

It is always more important to follow the campaign stops and asset allocation when examining the mindset of any campaign, and the Democrats are clearly worried about another upset. Over the week-end, they sent former Democratic chair Debbie Blabbermouth-Shultz to shore up the female vote, and she was accompanied by visits from Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, who is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

That is certainly telling, but the Suffolk University poll just released 3 hours ago still has Markey leading Gomez 48% – 41%, but that certainly is a drop of an average of 5 points. It should be of concern that neither the Gomez campaign nor the Markey campaign have any events scheduled for today. Nevertheless, David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston said:

Ed Markey continues to lead but the margin has dwindled. Markey’s core ballot test number has fallen below 50 percent and recent Obama administration scandals, especially the Associated Press phone records scrutiny, have touched a nerve with likely voters who are holding back or no longer supporting Markey and President Obama with the same intensity.

Digging deeper into the Suffolk University poll, which consequentially has a very good record in Massachusetts, reveals Gomez’s increase in support has come from among independents who have a trust concern that has caused them to engage more closely than before. In what may turn out to be disastrous for Markey, the poll was conducted prior to the NSA Prism story breaking, and Massachusetts voters were already extremely concerned about the government’s behavior and power. Paleologos said:

Clearly voters do not want the investigative powers of the federal government to run rampant. Through no fault of Markey, the remaining undecideds in the Senate race are equally polarized on this issue and the fallout may be hurting the Congressman. The normally solid terrain that a statewide Democrat traditionally enjoys in Massachusetts has become a little muddy and if these privacy issues continue, that footing could cause Markey to sink further.

Congressman Markey has been much more reserved than Democratic Representatives Mike Capuano and Niki Tsongas who were openly critical of administration officials due to these additional revelations. There is absolutely precedent for a Gomez upset, and although still down, the trend viewed below is crystal clear to me. Obviously, breaking out the big guns and the VP tag team demonstrates that it is clear to the Democrats as well.

RCP Average 5/5 – 6/9 47.8 38.0 Markey +9.8
Suffolk University 6/6 – 6/9 500 LV 48 41 Markey +7
New England College 6/1 – 6/2 734 RV 52 40 Markey +12
Emerson College 5/20 – 5/22 867 RV 45 33 Markey +12
WBUR/MassINC 5/5 – 5/6 497 LV 46 38 Markey +8
Suffolk/7News 5/4 – 5/7 500 LV 52 35 Markey +17
PPP (D) 5/1 – 5/2 1539 LV 44 40 Markey +4
Emerson College 5/1 – 5/1 797 RV 42 36 Markey +6
Western NE University 4/11 – 4/18 480 LV 51 36 Markey +15
WBUR/MassINC 3/19 – 3/21 610 LV 44 25 Markey +19
UMass Lowell/Boston Herald 3/2 – 3/5 589 RV 47 28 Markey +19

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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