Internal Poll: Tierney Holds Wide Lead in Democratic Primary

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Democrats say Massachusetts Rep. John F. Tierney is not facing a Democratic primary challenge nearly as competitive as some in the party had feared.  

In an automated poll released Thursday by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Tierney led veteran Seth Moulton 64 percent to 17 percent, with 20 percent undecided. The wide lead is largely a testament to Tierney's familiarity with voters in Massachusetts' 6th District, which he has represented for nine terms, and illustrates that Moulton remains unknown.  

"In sum, Tierney’s commanding lead, combined with his strong, positive profile, signify that he is the clear choice among likely primary voters" in the district, Christina Coloroso, the DCCC's targeting and analytics director, said in a polling memo obtained by CQ Roll Call. The DCCC uses traditional pollsters but also utilizes in-house interactive voice response polling to spot-check races , where polling data is often sparse. The poll surveyed 402 likely Democratic primary voters March 26 and 27. The margin of error was 4.9 points.  

According to the poll, 83 percent of voters were familiar with Tierney, while just 15 percent had heard of Moulton. Of the voters familiar with Tierney, 59 percent viewed him favorably.  

Although the poll showed that Moulton has plenty of ground to make up, he was already approaching $400,000 in cash on hand by the end of 2013 after outraising Tierney in the third and fourth quarters. Moulton will need the money to build his name identification ahead of the Sept. 9 primary, the latest in the country.  

Tierney and Moulton will compete for another five months, and the eventual nominee will likely face Republican former state Sen. Richard Tisei in November.  

Last cycle, Tierney defeated Tisei by just 1 point and was outperformed by President Barack Obama by 10 points. Based in part on his slim margin of victory, Tierney made Roll Call's list of the 10 most vulnerable members of Congress this cycle.  

Massachusetts' 6th District is rated a Leans Democratic contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.