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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vote for who?

The clearest result in the latest US Senate poll is that voters have election fatigue.

The WBUR-MassINC poll released in advance of tonight's twin debates show undecided is the clear leader on both the Democratic and Republican sides.  That makes tonight's televised meetings crucial for all five hopefuls.

But will anyone be paying attention after non-stop Senate races since the death of Ted Kennedy in 2009?

In one sign of just how topsy-turvy the races are, Democrat Ed Markey leads his Republican challenger Steve Lynch by 11 points but Lynch comes out ahead by 25 points on the favorable side. Yet 19 percent of the respondents had never heard of Lynch compared to only 12 percent who don't know Markey.

Either knowing Markey makes him less favorable or not knowing Lynch does the same. And in any event,  41 percent of Democrats are undecided a month away from the primary.

On the Republican side, any of the candidates would treasure that kind of visibility. Former US Attorney Michael Sullivan is still unknown by about one-third of the GOP electorate, far outpacing Gomez and Winslow. The Norfolk state representative is still a cipher to 56 percent of voters.

For Markey, the task is easy. The poll suggests Lynch is benefiting from a healthier run of television ads to date. But the South Boston Democrat remains highly vulnerable among the liberal Democrats who vote in primaries because of his positions on abortion and Obamacare.

Expect Markey, who has been somewhat removed from the campaign trail recently, to focus in on those points.

For the Republicans, the need is to be noticed, period. But it is exceptionally important for the nearly invisible Winslow, who did pick up an important endorsement from Citizens for Limited Taxation founder Barbara Anderson.

Yet there remains a real question of how many people will be paying attention. The Passover seders are done and Easter is looming, not a great time to enter living rooms with political chatter. Add to that general numbness to anything involving Washington insanity and the fact this is the umpteenth Senate race and you have strong indifference.

At least they're not going up against March Madness.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Markey's unfavorables are higher because, while Lynch is at 34-15 among registered Republicans, Markey is at 12-44. Happily Republicans don't vote in the Democratic primary.

I'd venture Lynch's unfavorables among registered Dems, especially women, will come up as some of his conservative positions become known.

March 27, 2013 9:22 AM  

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