A new Garin Hart Yang Research Group poll conducted for the Karen Spilka (D) campaign in anticipation of the Oct. 15 Massachusetts special primary election, reveals that the five strongest Democrat candidates are all within eight points of each other.
The top five are all elected officials, a field that features three state senators, one state representative, and a county sheriff. A total of seven candidates will appear on the Democrat ballot. The winner of this primary becomes the prohibitive favorite to claim the Dec. 10 special general election.
The results show that virtually any of the five can win the nomination, a single-election primary system that requires only garnering a plurality of votes to achieve victory.
According to the data, state Sen. Katherine Clark leads with just 18 percent support, followed by Spilka, also a state senator, with 17 percent, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian is next at 15 percent, and state Sen. Will Brownsberger and state Rep. Carl Sciortino are tied at 11 percent.
Though Sciortino lags toward the end of the poll, it is he who is the biggest gainer, up from 4 percent based upon the last GHY Research survey released in July. His rise is generally credited to a rather clever and amusing ad his campaign is running (above) featuring his father, who is a Tea Party member.
The Spilka poll suggests any of the five candidates could conceivably win, though it might be a stretch for Brownsberger, who again finishes toward the end. If Sciortino continues his upward movement, he could become a factor in the remaining two and one-half weeks that remain before Election Day.
Two new interesting polls were released earlier this week, one showing the Republican position in New Jersey improving, and the other a tight five-way race for Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) vacant House seat.
Quinnipiac University went into the field (Sept. 19-22; 948 likely New Jersey voters) and tested a more refined sample than selected for previous polls, zeroing in on people who are certain to vote in the Senate special election based upon past history and current intent.
Employing these tight screens, Republican Steve Lonegan moves to within shouting distance of Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) for the election scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 16. According to the data, Booker’s lead shrinks to 53-41 percent, down from a much more substantial 54-29 percent, when the Q-Poll ran a New Jersey special general election survey in early August.
Though the margin is tighter, Booker still appears as a solid bet to win the election, barring a major shift in these electoral patterns. His marks among Democrats, the dominant party in New Jersey, are key and as long as they stay this strong, Republican Lonegan will have little chance of scoring a come-from-behind win.
Among members of his own party, 91 percent say they are voting for Booker with a defection rate of only 4 percent to Lonegan. Additionally, 85 percent of respondents who support Booker say they’re “definitely” going to vote for him. Lonegan’s numbers among Republicans are similar, 86-11 percent with an 88 percent “definite vote for” score, but the membership of his party is a distinct minority. Somewhat surprisingly, it is among Independents where Lonegan also scores well, as the GOP candidate actually has a slight lead within this polling segment, 47-44 percent.
During the same Sept. 19-22 period, Quinnipiac also tested the governor’s race but increased the size of the polling sample to 1,249, again with a tight voter participation screen. The sample size is larger, they explain, because the governor’s race is in regular cycle even though it is held in an odd-numbered year.
Utilizing this emphasized voter turnout screen, Gov. Chris Christie (R) who already enjoys large leads in his re-election effort, does even better. According to this data, the governor leads Democratic nominee Barbara Buono, a state senator, by a whopping 64-30 percent.
His loyalty factor among Republicans is 94-3 percent, versus only a 60-35 percent count for Buono among Democrats. Christie carries Independents 69-23 percent.