March 27th, 2009
01:40 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll shows Democrat has edge in NY 20

 The special election is set for next Tuesday.

The special election is set for next Tuesday.

(CNN) - Four days before a crucial special election for a House seat, a new poll suggests the Democrat in the race is gaining momentum.

A Siena College Research Institute poll of likely voters in New York's 20th congressional district indicates that Democrat Scott Murphy leads Republican Jim Tedisco by a 47 percent to 43 percent margin. That's a switch from two weeks ago, when Tedisco had a four point lead in a Siena poll and from one month ago, when Tedisco led by 12 points.

But the poll also indicates that by a ten point margin, 45 percent to 35 percent, voters think Tedisco will win.

"Taking the poll's sampling error into account, this race is neck-and-neck," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The tricky task for any pollster is trying to figure out who will actually vote in a special election for a local seat in an odd-numbered year. Likely voter models are generally based on historical voting patterns, but there is no history to fall back on in a race like this."

Murphy is a venture capitalist and Tedisco is a New York State lawmaker and ranking Republican in the State Assembly.

Both are running to replace Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who gave up her House seat after New York Gov. David Paterson appointed her to the U.S. Senate in January, to replace Hillary Clinton, who stepped down to serve as Secretary of State.

Gillibrand first won election to the seat in 2006 and was re-elected last November, in a moderate to conservative district that Republicans used to dominate.

The special election is scheduled for Tuesday.

Both the Democratic and Republican national party organizations and congressional campaign committees in the House of Representatives have pumped resources into the race.

The Democratic National Committee on Friday began running a television commercial in the district that uses visuals of Barack Obama and Murphy together on the screen and touts the president's support of the candidate. Earlier this week, the DNC went up with a radio spot in which Vice President Joe Biden voices his support for Murphy.

Republican have also flooded the airwaves in upstate New York with ads supporting Tedisco. President Obama's stimulus plan and even the controversy over AIG bonuses have become issues in the contest. Many political analysts see the race as an early referendum on how the Obama presidency has performed so far when it comes to the economy.

"Obama has endorsed the Democrat, so he can't run away from the results if the Republican wins," Holland says. "But local races often turn on local issues and the public perception of the two people on the ballot."

The Siena College Research Institute poll was conducted March 25-26, with 917 likely voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Jackie in Dallas

    The GOP has lots of money invested in this election...just last week, they sent an "additional" $100,000. And that was met by the Republican candidate dropping in the poll.

    There's something for the GOP to learn from this: perhaps support from the National Party cabel is actually doing harm to their candidates?

    March 27, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Beny

    I would never vote for another Republican!

    March 27, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. Mickie

    As long as people keep voting in republicans, they deserve what they get! The rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.

    March 27, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Doug, New Jersey

    Take a drive around New York, walk around the streets and observe how people act toward each other. You will see that these people are liberals, they must reflect their lack of values and decency by voting Democrat no matter who that lib is.

    I really suggest to all here to come visit either New York, DC, or Boston to get a full understanding of what it is that you are supporting when you vote Democrat.

    March 27, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Abby

    Kurt C I think that it is safe to say that this happens with both democrats & republicans. If you really want to talk about cheating, then why not think of the way that Bush cheated Gore out of becoming President. It's funny how the state where there was a big problem is also the state where his brother was governor.

    March 27, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Deborah Black

    I don't see how anyone could vote Republican at this time. The Republican party wrecked this country and now act as if they have done nothing wrong, and continue to fight the President at every step, spouting their same old failed polices. The President reaches out and tries to include them and all they do is bite his hand. Shame on the Republican's and their same tactiacs of fear and doom and gloom. Vote Democrate and save the country.

    March 27, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Kraig

    RINO's are simply uneducated people. NY is as corrupt as Chicago therefore it will be difficult for a True Republican to ever win. The USA needs less government and conservative approaches to spending. The Dems buy votes with hand outs and much like California being broke, NY is next on the list. You silly lemmings wake up!

    March 27, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. matt

    great another democrate to lead this country downhill

    March 27, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Eddie

    So let me get this straight. Though I am pro choice, I should vote for the pro choice candidate who will bankrupt America?
    I think democrats need to understand how to prioritize how they vote.

    March 27, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    NY-20 Dems need to vote. I hope the ground game for the Dems is still pretty solid for this special election.

    I really don't understand how Repubs could win after that stunt they pulled yesterday; a news conference to discuss their 'alternate budget = biggest tax cuts yet for the wealthy + not much else.'

    March 27, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Mari

    @ NYC REPUB......... You are just the kind of person, I admire! Someone who votes for the BEST candidate not just for the "red" or "blue" one! Bravo for you!

    The GOP IS just SILLY, yesterday, Boehner comes out declaring they have an alternative budget! Turns out ...... THEY DON'T........ the so-called-budget was merely ......... 19 pages of TALKING POINTS! WHAT A JOKE!

    The GOP is slowly and painfully self-destructing, with these antics and with their "I hope Obama fails" mentality and attitude!

    March 27, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. S Callahan

    These polls are amazing because the kitchen table talk is that Tedisco is going to grab this one.....people are peeved that so many jobs from Murphy have gone oversees...and then having it validated through IBM just sits wrong with people.

    Sorry, I disagree on this one.

    March 27, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Kent in CA

    I agree with #7 obama-mama. The GOP should dump Steele and elect Meghan McCain RNC Chairwoman. Looks like she's got the cajones to stand up to the radical right that is killing their party.

    March 27, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Fred Whissel

    No bias in your presentation? Read the headline again about the "Bad News for GOP" - and then read your story paragraph that says voters, by a 45-35 percent margin, think the Republican candidate will win. A lot of readers get their first (and only) impression by reading the headline, not the complete story. That's what you were counting on. The story says one thing, the headline distorts the story to say another. Your liberal spin was only too transparent. Great job of presenting the news without bias.

    March 27, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Some guy

    Actually Johnny from VA, NY is a huge state. Outside of New York City and its suburbs there are a whole lot of rednecks and unemployed blue collar workers who are conservative to say the least. I know. I grew up there. I got out as soon as I could.

    March 27, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Let's get the Party of No people gone. I'm going for the democrat because rather than saying No, he'll mre tha likely offer suggestions and solutions.

    March 27, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. demsrdumb

    Kimberly in Arizona March 27th, 2009 11:13 am ET

    Do you REALLY think a republican could win a seat in any state at this point? They are about as popular as the plague, and about as welcome as your mother in law. They are just the party of hate and fear and NO ideas. Its a lesson that they dont seem to be getting either, as they continue the exact same policy that got them booted in 06 and again in 08. They just dont care about America and it shows. They hate the President more than they love this country…sad!

    To RUSH and JINDAL: I do not want the levees in Louisiana or Florida to fail, just the policies of the Corp. of Engineers building them!!! March 27th, 2009 11:07 am ET

    Looks like the party that wants "Obama to fail", is going "continue to fail" in regaining Congressional seats back!

    Now that is change we can believe in!

    These are typical responses from uneducated dems who type before they think! Who wanted the levees to fail? Rush wants B.O s policies to fail. He does not want socialism. Do You? Talking about hating the president? Do you remember all the Dumbocrat hatemongers against G.W? Your mother in law joke is about as funny as a special olympic joke was!
    Good luck in 2010!!!

    March 27, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Robert

    Republicans have to learn you cannot always vote republican, Bush is living proof of this fact. They must also learn to adjust because the last 8 years are living proof thier policies did not work period, in fact, they screwed up the economy, sent jobs overseas, did nothing about health care, let big business run wild, did nothing about big oil, did not about unfair trade, let wall street do as they pleased, Bush appointed intelligence heads who "alledgely" mislead him and America into a war he never should have been in, OH good god this list would take all day! AND NOW THE REPUBLICANS think they know how the country should be run WHAT did God give them some hints or what. VOTE anything but Republican until they stop this my party is the only party nonsense.

    I am independent.

    March 27, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. Mike Mundy, Houston, TX

    Oh CNN, every poll you report shows bad news for the GOP. What else is new?

    New Yorkers are crazy, to elect one more Democrat to add to this spending madness!

    WAKE UP, Ya Yankees!

    March 27, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. G35Man

    I'll NEVER vote for another Repulican again. They have destroyed this country. Like many other folks have written in, the Republicans just keep condenming the Democrats, thinking they do not wrong.
    Folks, if you want this country to survive, vote Democrat.

    March 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Carl

    The Republicans, surrounded by neo-conservatives, will be the first party to go under in the near future.

    Right now, only a small minority represent the original intent, which is more libertarian in nature.

    The Republicans are almost more for government control than many democrats right now.

    However, democrats are not far behind (5-10 years IMO) from their party blowing up as well.

    The two party system, like the banks, are having a power struggle and holding on for dear life.

    If more Americans simply woke up and realized what is going on, they would not dare support either party.

    March 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Mike Mundy, Houston, TX

    March 27th, 2009 11:34 am ET

    Republicans are holding this country back from progressing. Please vote Democrat!

    You mean please vote for SOCIALISM. You North Eastern folk are Strange!

    March 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Bob the Observer

    In other words, this poll reveals nothing. From the headline, I thought you were predicting a 20-seat gain for the Democrats in the 2010 congressional elections.

    This is one seat in one state, for a chamber that has 438 people in it. This is neither good news nor bad news for anyone.

    Of course, this will probably not be posted by the CNN censors, because it lacks the idiotic rants and vulgar names that seem to always get through.

    But I had to say something on the deceptive title.

    March 27, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Michael

    The Republican party has a choice. They can continue to move to the right towards the ideology of Gingrich, Jindal, Steele and Palin and become increasingly more partisan and divisive, but they will lose elections. Or they can move back to the center and win elections. When John McCain won the Republican Party nomination I was thrilled, but then he selected Sarah Palin as his VP

    March 27, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Sniffit

    @ Eddie, who said "So let me get this straight. Though I am pro choice, I should vote for the pro choice candidate who will bankrupt America? I think democrats need to understand how to prioritize how they vote."

    Dude, it's not the Dems who generally are the one-issue voters, aprticularly on that's the GOP's fundy base.

    March 27, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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