Special-Election Polling Doesn’t Match 2010 Upset #MASEN

Brown's 2010 success likely won't be repeated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Brown's 2010 success likely won't be repeated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted June 21, 2013 at 2:02pm

Former Sen. Scott P. Brown, who lost a bid for a full term in November, will make his first appearance on the Massachusetts special-election campaign trail June 24. But a day before the election, the race will likely look more like his November 2012 loss than his January 2010 upset.

Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez’s team remains optimistic based on a solid Tuesday debate performance and a recent internal poll that showed him within striking distance of Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass. Plus, turnout is unpredictable in any special election.

But even if Gomez is still down just 7 points internally, public polls released this week don’t offer any evidence of a surge of support like the one that lifted Brown to a 5-point special-election victory on Jan. 19, 2010:

  • Ten days before the 2010 special election, the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling released a poll showing Brown ahead by a single point.
  • Five days before the election, a Suffolk University survey had him ahead by 4 points. Like the PPP poll, Brown’s lead was within the margin of error. But it was a drastic shift from the double-digit deficits just a couple of weeks before the election.
  • In the final days, nearly every poll released had Brown leading by 5 points to 10 points.
  • Ten days before the 2013 special, a Boston Globe poll found Markey ahead by 11 points.
  • On Thursday, five days before the special, the Boston Herald published a poll that showed Markey taking a 20-point lead.
  • The RealClearPolitics.com polling average is currently at 11 points.

Combined, it made the race a steeper climb for Gomez than for Brown.