PPP's first poll of the general election in the Massachusetts Senate special finds a close race, with Ed Markey leading Gabriel Gomez by a 44-40 margin.
Gomez is starting out as a pretty popular candidate, with 41% of voters rating him favorably to 27% with an unfavorable opinion. Beyond having good numbers with Republicans he's at 42/24 with independents, and actually seen narrowly positively even by Democrats at 33/32. Voters meanwhile are more divided on Markey, with 44% holding a positive view of him to 41% with a negative one. He's at 31/50 with independents.
For a Republican to be competitive in Massachusetts they need to win independents by a hefty margin and get a fair amount of crossover support from Democrats, and right now Gomez is doing both of those things. He's up 47/31 with independents and winning over 21% of Democratic voters. Both those numbers suggest that some folks who supported Stephen Lynch in the primary are being a little reticent about supporting Markey in the general.
To put Gomez's 16 point lead with independents in context though, our final poll in the 2010 special election found Scott Brown winning them by a 64/32 margin. So he still has a long way to go to replicate the formula that let Brown pull off that upset.