Former Republican Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) has been out of politics for less than a month, but I don’t think he should get too comfortable: A new survey released Friday shows him crushing Democrat Ed Markey in a hypothetical matchup to fill John Kerry’s soon-to-be vacant U.S. Senate seat.
A majority of Massachusetts voters would back former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) over Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) in a special election to fill the seat expected to be vacated by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), according to a poll released Friday.
The latest survey from MassINC Polling Group showed Brown easily cruising in a hypothetical matchup against Markey. Fifty-three percent of registered Bay State voters said they would support Brown, compared with just 31 percent who indicated they would vote for Markey. But pitted against a generic Democrat, Brown was shown with only an 8-point edge.
The poll showed Brown continuing to enjoy sky-high popularity — as was the case throughout his brief stint in the Senate — with 55 percent of voters saying they have a favorable view of the Republican. Markey is a relative unknown throughout the state: 59 percent of voters surveyed offered no opinion of the longtime congressman.
Although the state and national Democratic establishment has coalesced behind Markey, 71 percent of would-be Democratic primary voters favor a contested primary — an encouraging sign for Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), who will reportedly announce Friday that he's challenging Markey for the party's nomination in the special election.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Scott Brown has already competed in two statewide elections, and thus is very well known to the public. (Markey, for his part, does not have anywhere near that kind of name recognition). That being said, there’s also some speculation that Senator Brown will hedge his bets and instead run for governor in 2014. Massachusetts, after all, has a history of electing moderate, Republican chief executives -- and with Deval Patrick out of the picture -- his relative popularity would almost certainly give him a leg up on the competition. Whatever he decides to do, however, his once dim political prospects now seem infinitely brighter.
Let us hope he takes advantage of them.