Massa-snooze-etts: A steady special election comes to a close

The Massachusetts special Senate election is next Tuesday, and despite a lot of noise to the contrary, the race is not particularly close, nor has it been at any point of the contest. Rep. Ed Markey (D) has been and is a fairly strong favorite to defeat ex-Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez (R). We’ve consistently held our rating of this race at “likely Democratic,” and that’s where it remains.

Markey — at best an average candidate — has benefited from being a Democrat in a Democratic state, and Gomez has failed to morph into Scott Brown 2.0. Democrats, leery of a repeat of the 2010 Brown upset, have poured a significant amount of outside money into the contest, while the Republican outside groups have largely stayed out. The failure of national Republicans to invest in the race told us that they did not believe the race was really winnable.

The public polling in this race has been pretty much static. In Huffington Post’s Pollster average, Markey has held a steady, high-single-digit lead on Gomez. On May 1 (right after the special election primaries), Markey was up 9.2 percentage points in the average; on May 15, he was up 8.4 points; on June 2, he was up 8.5 points; and as of Wednesday, he was up 8.9 points. Not a single public poll has shown a Gomez lead.

Like the 2012 Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, this has been a competitive race, but not one where the outcome was all that much in doubt in the weeks leading up to the contest.

Kyle Kondik

Accolades for Crystal Ball, Center for Politics

We hope you’ll allow us a brief pause for a commercial interruption.

The Crystal Ball was honored this week by The Daily Beast as part of its #BeastBest awards for the 82 best websites on the Internet. “Covering every gubernatorial and Senate race, and every tight one in the House, Sabato and his colleagues at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics have proven they can separate the signal from the noise.” The Crystal Ball was one of six political sites recognized.

Additionally, the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ latest documentary, Out of Order, has won an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Best Topical Documentary.

The film, which was produced by the Center for Politics and the Community Idea Stations and directed by Paul Tait Roberts, analyzes political gridlock in Washington, D.C. The Capital Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the award recipients at its 55th Annual Emmy Awards dinner in Baltimore last weekend.

Out of Order: Civility in Politics explores partisanship and dysfunction in American government through interviews with prominent academics, journalists, political observers and senior (current and former) elected officials, including: Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Mark Warner (D); former Sens. Evan Bayh (D) and John Warner (R); Bob Schieffer of CBS News; and Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato.

We plan on displaying the Emmy in a place of prominence here at the Center for Politics, although we’ll be sure to move it safely out of sight if Russian President Vladimir Putin ever pays us a visit.

Thanks to the center staff, as well as our supporters and readers, for helping to make these achievements possible.

The Crystal Ball Team