(CNN) - Less than half of Massachusetts voters say they have a lot of interest in this week's special U.S. Senate election.
According to a survey conducted by the Western New England University Polling Institute, 42% of registered voters in the Bay State say they have a lot of interest in Tuesday's contest between Democratic Rep. Ed Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez, with three-in-ten saying they have some interest in the election, and 28% saying they have little or no interest.
The 42% who say they have a lot of interest is lower than the 58% who said the same thing in advance of the 2010 gubernatorial election in Massachusetts, and the 82% who felt the same way just before last November's presidential election.
Special elections often draw low turnout, and this race does not appear to be an exception. The contest, held to fill the remaining year and a half of the seat of longtime Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who stepped down earlier this year to become U.S. secretary of state, was generating little interest with the public even before it was overshadowed by April's Boston Marathon bombings, which left three people dead and nearly 300 injured.
While the campaign has received plenty of media attention in the past month, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said that he was "extremely concerned" about low turnout, citing requests for absentee ballots.
"With many people focused on the (NHL's Boston) Bruins playing in the Stanley Cup final, the (Whitey) Bulger trial, and the end of the school year, the special election has a lot of competition for attention," Galvin told reporters last week.
According to the secretary of state's office last week, 13,000 fewer absentee ballots had been requested one week before the June 25 election compared to U.S. Senate special election in the commonwealth in January 2010.
The Western New England University survey also indicates Markey with a 49%-41% lead over Gomez, with 9% unsure. Markey had larger double digit leads in surveys released last week by the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.
Markey's served 20 terms in the House of Representatives. Gomez is a businessman and former Navy SEAL.
The Western New England University survey was conducted June 16-20, with 566 likely voters in Massachusetts questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report