Exclusive Emerson College/7NEWS poll: Markey takes 12-point lead over Kennedy

The latest Emerson College/WHDH poll finds Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Ed Markey leading with 56 percent support and Congressman Joe Kennedy behind at 44 percent (n=453, +/-4.6%). This is a reversal from the Emerson/ WHDH Poll in May that had Kennedy leading 58 percent to 42 percent.

Markey’s base support is registered Democratic voters, where he leads 61 percent to 39 percent while Independents are split between the two candidates breaking for Markey 51 percent to 49 percent.

Another base demographic for Markey is younger voters, particularly those 18-29 are breaking for Markey 70 percent to 30 percent.

Kennedy’s strength is with lower-educated voters; he is leading those with a high school diploma or less with 66 percent of the vote. Markey leads amongst all other educational groups.

Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson College Polling analyzed “It appears that Markey was able to re-define himself over the summer as a Bernie Sanders progressive and was able to win over previous supporters of Kennedy, whose more moderate positions might have caused early supporters to shift to Markey.”

Regardless of who voters will personally vote for, a majority, 60 percent, think that Markey will be re-elected. The rest of voters, 40 percent, expect that Kennedy will win the Senate seat.

About 1 in 3 voters (35 percent) report having made up their mind before the summer, while the other 48 percent said they made up their minds within the last month.


Looking ahead to the November general election, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump 68 percent to 30 percent (n=763, +/-3.5%).

Gov. Baker has a 66 percent approval rating in the Commonwealth and a 19 percent disapproval. Baker, a Republican, has a higher approval among Democrats, 76 percent, and Independents, 63 percent, than with his own party. Amongst Republicans, 52 percent approve of Baker’s job as governor. President Trump has a 29 percent approval rating and a 67 percent disapproval.

Overall a majority of voters, 72 percent, feel Massachusetts is handling the pandemic better than the rest of the country. Only 9 percent feel the Commonwealth handled the pandemic worse than the rest of the country.

A plurality of voters, 44 percent, think hybrid learning, with a mix of remote and in-person, is most appropriate for K-12. Full remote learning was supported by 36 percent of respondents and the other 19 percent were in support of full in-person learning.

Regarding higher education in the Commonwealth, a majority 62 percent said colleges and universities should not be opening with in-person classes.


When asked about how safe they feel about going to a dine-in restaurant, 51 percent said they would feel safe and 49 percent reported they would feel unsafe. When asked about going to the gym, 32 percent said it would be safe and 68 percent said it would be unsafe. Going to movie theaters was seen as safe by 30 percent of voters and not safe by 70 percent.

Caller ID:

The Massachusetts Emerson College/WHDH poll was conducted Aug. 25 to 27. The sample consisted of likely registered voters, n=763, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/-3.6 percentage points.

The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, voter registration, and race-based on voter turnout modeling using the 2016 US Census Voting and Registration Supplemental data sets and 2016 official vote results.

It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines (n=367), SMS to text mobile (n=254) and an online panel provided by MTurk (n=154).

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