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WBUR poll finds single-digit Senate race

Democratic US Representative Edward Markey, left, is in a close race against Republican Gabriel E. Gomez.

Democratic US Representative Edward Markey, left, is in a close race against Republican Gabriel E. Gomez.

A new poll released this morning by WBUR found Democratic US Representative Edward J. Markey leading Republican Gabriel E. Gomez by eight points among likely voters in their race for the US Senate.

Among those voters who lean one way or the other — that is, those who intially do not have a preference, but pick a candidate when pressed by the interviewer — Markey led 46 percent to Gomez’s 38 percent.

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Without leaners, the poll found a six point race, with Markey leading 41 percent to 35 percent.

In the WBUR survey, conducted by the MassINC Polling Group, 43 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of Markey, while 25 percent had an unfavorable view of him. Thirty-seven percent had a favorable view of Gomez, while 16 percent had an unfavorable view of him. Six percent of those polled had never heard of Markey, while 15 percent had never heard of Gomez, a political newcomer.

Those numbers leave room for each candidate to better define himself to voters. They also leave room for his opponent to do the same thing.

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The WBUR poll provided a different picture of the race than a Suffolk University/7News poll released Wednesday night, which found Markey leading by 17 points.

The WBUR survey of 497 likely special election voters was conducted May 5-6 and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Gomez, a private equity investor and former Navy SEAL, will face off with Markey on June 25. The Senate seat became open when John F. Kerry resigned to become secretary of state.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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