Mass voters prefer competitive primary; Brown looks strong

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With signals of his interest is possibly entering the likely special election to replace outgoing Senator John Kerry, Congressman Steve Lynch appears poised to force a Democratic primary. This should please Democratic leaning voters, who say they would prefer a competitive primary. Among those voters who say they would vote in a Democratic primary rather than a Republican primary, 71 percent would prefer to see a contested primary rather than a clear field for Congressman Ed Markey (16 percent). Even among voters who would support Markey in a general election match-up against Scott Brown, 72 percent would prefer a competitive Democratic primary.

Brown leads a generic Democrat in a theoretical general election match-up, 44 percent to 36 percent. When matched up against Markey specifically, Brown leads 53 percent to 31 percent. The poll was conducted prior to news stories about Lynch’s potential entrance into the race, and does not include a head to head match-up between Brown and Lynch.

Over half (55 percent) of Massachusetts registered voters view Scott Brown favorably.

Both Markey (59 percent) and Lynch (66 percent) have broad swaths of voters who did not offer an opinion of the Congressmen.

About the poll: These figures are based on a poll of 435 registered voters conducted by The MassINC Polling Group. These voters were drawn from the quarterly MassPulse poll of 503 Massachusetts residents conducted January 16-19, 2013 via live telephone interviewers. The poll was conducted in English and Spanish among both cell phone and landline households.

Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that Congressman Lynch had announced his intention to enter the race.