The Massachusetts Senate race is tightening, a new poll shows.
Suffolk University reported Monday that Democratic Rep. Edward Markey now has a 7-point lead over Republican businessman and former Navy Seal Gabriel Gomez. Suffolk calls Markey’s lead “modest,” but it’s likely to push the Democrats to scramble even more intensely to boost Markey’s chances in the final two weeks of the special election to replace former Sen. John Kerry.
The poll shows that Markey’s lead has actually fallen to 48 percent, still comfortably ahead of Gomez, who is at 41 percent.
A June 2 poll conducted by New England College was much rosier for Markey, showing him leading Gomez 52 to 40 percent.
Democrats have already spent heavily on television ads for the 37-year congressman. President Obama will campaign for him in West Roxbury on Wednesday after attending a Markey fundraiser in Boston earlier in the day.
Poll director David Paleologos said Markey’s lead shrank in part because of the recent string of scandals in Washington D.C., including the seizure of media phone records, the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the unresolved issues surrounding the fatal terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
The scandals, Plaeologos said, “have touched a nerve with likely voters who are holding back or no longer supporting Markey and President Obama with the same intensity.”
The poll was conducted after the latest D.C. bombshell dropped about the National Security Agency collecting the millions of Americans' phone and internet records.
Markey has also been hurt by accusations that he spends most of his time in Washington, D.C., and his home in Chevy Chase, Md., and very little time in his Malden, Mass., congressional district.
The election is set for June 25 and the winner will complete Kerry's term after he vacated the seat to become secretary of state. The seat will be up for grabs again in 2014.