Poll: Republican Gabriel Gomez is nearly tied with Democrat Edward Markey in US Senate race

Gabriel E. Gomez, the Republican nominee for US Senate in Massachusetts, is nearly tied with his Democratic opponent, US Representative Edward J. Markey, according to a poll released Friday.

Gomez, who scored an upset victory over two rivals in the Republican primary on Tuesday, has the support of 40 percent of likely voters in the June 25 general election, compared to 44 percent for Markey, according to the survey by Public Policy Polling, a firm that often polls for Democratic and liberal groups. Sixteen percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The four percentage point spread is surprisingly thin in such a heavily Democratic state and suggests Markey, a 36-year veteran of the US House, is far from a lock in the general election.

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The poll could also energize Republicans and encourage national GOP donors to take the race seriously.

“Ed Markey is the favorite in the Massachusetts Senate election but it looks like it could be a competitive race,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement. “Gabriel Gomez is starting out as an appealing candidate and is drawing some support from the kinds of voters who supported Stephen Lynch in the Democratic primary.”

In the poll, 41 percent of respondents said they had a favorable view of Gomez, a wealthy private equity investor and former Navy SEAL with little political experience. Twenty-seven percent said they had an unfavorable opinion and 32 percent said they were not sure.

About 44 percent of voters said they had a positive opinion of Markey, compared to 40 percent who said they had an unfavorable opinion and 15 percent who were not sure.

The automated telephone survey of 1,539 likely voters was conducted Wednesday and Thursday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.