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POLLSTER UPDATE: In Massachusetts Senate Race, Expect The Expected

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MARKEY GOMEZ
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Two more polls show Ed Markey leading by a lot in Massachusetts. Most Americans agree with arguments on both sides of the immigration reform debate. And two political scientists imagine there's no polling. This is the HuffPost Pollster update for Monday, June 24, 2013.

MARKEY LEADS IN TWO NEW MASSACHUSETTS SENATE POLLS - MassLive.com’s Shira Schoenberg: “With just days left before Massachusetts voters head to the polls, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Edward Markey is leading Republican Gabriel Gomez by eight points, according to a new poll released Saturday night by The Republican/MassLive.com in partnership with CBS 3 Springfield. The poll, conducted by the Western New England University Polling Institute, found Markey leading Gomez, 49 percent to 41 percent among likely voters, with 9 percent undecided....The poll also found what political observers have noted all along – that voters are simply not engaged in this race in the way they were with the 2012 U.S. Senate race between Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren....Nearly a quarter of respondents (23 percent) said they might still change their minds regarding who to vote for – including 28 percent of Gomez supporters and 18 percent of Markey supporters. This is a clear difference from a similar point in the 2012 race when 90 percent of both candidates’ supporters had made up their minds.” [MassLive]

Another poll shows 10-point lead Suffolk: “Democrat Edward Markey (52 percent) holds a comfortable lead over Republican Gabriel Gomez (42 percent) with just a day to go before the special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, according to a Suffolk University statewide poll of tightly screened likely voters. Richard Heos of the Twelve Visions Party polls at 1 percent; 4 percent are undecided; and 1 percent refused a response....The bellwether areas of Lowell, Dartmouth and South Hadley all point to a big win for Markey as well. In Lowell, Markey leads 49 percent to 38 percent; in Dartmouth his lead is 52 percent to 37 percent; and in South Hadley the lead is 51 percent to 37 percent.” [Suffolk]

Many polls, one result - The two new surveys bring to 25 the number conducted in Massachusetts since March, and all give Markey at least a nominal lead. Yes, special election polling tends can be less accurate than for other elections due to low turnout, but it would take an enormous error for Gomez to prevail. The Pollster chart, which uses all available public polls to produce a combined estimate of where the race stands, gives Markey a nearly 10 percentage point lead (50.9 to 41.2 percent) as of this writing. Removing the polls with partisan sponsorship gives Markey a slightly larger, 11 point lead (52.3 to 41.3 percent). [Pollster chart with all polls, without partisan polls]

Twitter on #MASen:

-Republican pollster Logan Dobson: "Suffolk poll finds Gomez trailing, but he still has above-water favorables...impressive given the weight against him." [@LoganDobson]

-Media pollster Mike Mokrzycki: "With #masen coming up I just got poll call for 4th time in a wk. (My non-partisan policy: decline all, apologize for hurting response rate)." [@MikeMokr]

AMERICANS CONFLICTED ON IMMIGRATION DEBATE - USA Today’s Susan Page: “In a new USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll, three of four people agree with big arguments made by proponents of legislation that would allow millions of undocumented workers to stay in the United States legally: that deporting them isn't realistic, that granting them legal status would boost the U.S. economy, that most are hardworking and deserve an opportunity to stay. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed also agree with big arguments made by opponents: that granting undocumented workers legal status would drain government services and that doing so would encourage more foreigners to come to the U.S. illegally. Just about everybody — more than eight in 10 Americans — endorse views on both sides of the argument.” [USA Today]

Timing is the biggest issue - Pew: “[T]he public is divided on an issue that has been among the most contentious in Congress – whether border security must be achieved before the process of legalization can go forward. The national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted June 12--16 among 1,512 adults, finds that 43% say that people in the U.S. illegally should be allowed to seek legal status only after effective border control is established, while 49% say this can occur while border security improvements are being made. Republicans and Democrats are on opposite sides of this issue: 60% of Democrats say border improvements and applications for legal status can happen at the same time, while a majority of Republicans (56%) say the borders must effectively be controlled first.” [Pew Research]

MONDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to more news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-50 percent of Americans would vote for government funding of political campaigns. [Gallup]

-Those hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy cite friends, relatives and neighbors -- and not the government -- as the people who helped them make it through. [AP]

-Disillusionment with the war in Afghanistan reaches a three year high. [YouGov]

-Molly Ball examines whether Democrats can win back the Deep South. [Atlantic]

-Republican pollster Alex Lundry reviews the "stark generational divide" on same-sex marriage. [Policymic]

-Harry Enten ponders the implications of Obama getting lower ratings among registered voters than among all adults. [Guardian]

-Republican pollster Robert Blizzard rebuts Greenberg-Carville's analysis of their latest Democracy Corps congressional battleground poll [POS]

-NRCC questions Democracy Corps' "motive" question. [NRCC]

-Jennifer Agiesta posts a FAQ on the AP's polling methodology. [AP]

-Reg Baker blogs on a "big data" panel at the Esomar 3D conference. [RegBaker]

-The Sunlight Foundation tries its hand at a pie chart. [@Sun Foundation referring to this analysis]

-Seth Masket reports on a paper that finds the existence of polling tends to shore up the frontrunner. [Mischiefs of Faction]