Massachusetts voters go to the polls today to choose a replacement for former US Senator John Kerry, who’s now underwhelming as Secretary of State rather than in the upper chamber.  Republicans want to pull off another Scott Brown-like miracle, but the chances of doing so are … remote:

Massachusetts voters go to the polls on Tuesday to choose between a Republican newcomer and a veteran Democratic Congressman hoping to preserve the majority his party holds in the U.S. Senate.

Representative Edward Markey has enjoyed a strong lead in polls since launching his campaign six months ago to succeed fellow Democrat John Kerry, now U.S. Secretary of State. Markey’s opponent is private equity executive and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, whose solid support among Republicans looks to be not enough to prevail in the liberal-leaning state.

Democrats currently enjoy a 54-46 majority over Republicans in the U.S. Senate and a win by Gomez could help the national Republican party in its bid to retake control in next year’s midterm elections.

Gomez has run as an outsider, saying in campaign appearances that as a moderate voice he could help overcome partisan gridlock in Washington. Markey, meanwhile, has sought to tie him closely to the national Republican party, whose conservative positions on issues including gun rights and abortion restrictions do not play well with Massachusetts voters.

So far, Markey’s had mixed results in that effort, but that’s probably all he needs.  A trio of new polls out in the last 24 hours shows him with a double-digit polling lead.  The survey from New England College putting Markey up 20 points is almost certainly an outlier, but two others put his lead at 10 points. Emerson College puts the race at 51/41:

With four days until the election, Democratic Congressman Ed Markey leads by 10 points over his Republican opponent Gabriel Gomez, 51 percent to 41 percent, according to a new poll by the Emerson College Polling Society. Markey appears poised to fill the MA US Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry. The ECPS survey included 1,422 respondents with a 2.5 percent margin of error.

Felix Chen, President of ECPS, indicated the 10 point lead is a reflection of Markey’s strong
support among women voters. Fifty-five percent (55%) of women surveyed backed Markey’s bid to become the next Massachusetts Senator while only 36% supported Gomez. Gomez’s lack of support among women can be attributed to his comment in the first debate when he said he would support a Pro-Life Supreme Court Justice. …

A majority of Independents said they would choose Gomez over Markey on Election Day (53% to 37%), however, in order to win the traditional Republican election strategy would need Gomez to beat Markey among independents by a 2 to 1 margin due to the near 4 to 1 Democrat to Republican voter registration advantage.

Suffolk University has it 52/42 Markey, which hasn’t dampened Gomez’ enthusiasm:

For Gomez, the poll is another in a string of poor projections for his campaign since he won the primary. He trailed Markey by double-digits in polls ahead of the weekend — and even his own, by 7 points.

Still, Gomez aides are still predicting an upset, POLITICO reported, saying low-turnout special elections often produce surprises.

RCP has the average polling spread at Markey +12.3 points, which means that a Gomez win would be a huge surprise at this time.  Special elections do have very unpredictable turnouts, and having an established Massachusetts Democrat like Markey only in the low 50s against a Republican tenderfoot demonstrates some significant weakness in this frontrunner. That’s a lot of ground to make up in a single day, though, and nothing in any of the polling series shows momentum for Gomez in the way that Brown’s developed in the final weeks of the January 2010 special election.

I think we’re in Miracle Max territory here, even if we do hope that Gomez can pull off the upset: