March 27th, 2009
01:40 PM ET
5 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. Capsaicin

    I get solicitations to give Jim Tedisco money among the torrent of Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan rant mail that I somehow once started by singing up to Newsmax.

    Electing Tedisco will show that the nation is 'turning from Obama's devilish policies' and Republicans are blazing a 'new way forward' and that sort of thing.

    The fact is that the majority of Americans approve of the serious approach Obama has taken to America's economic problems, and are starting to despise the gutter-tactics that have been the Republican public face of choice.

    It will take more than a Tedisco win to turn them around.

    March 27, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Bosworth

    If it's "neck and neck" how can this be "bad news" for anyone?

    March 27, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Sniffit

    @ Fitz in Texas, who quoted Jefferson as saying ""To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

    Do you understand the context in which this was said? He was talking about taxation without representation. Sorry buddy, but you're represented. Just because your party and your ideology does not have control and did not win the voting on a particular bill, does not mean you are being taxed unfairly. Your representative got his vote.

    March 27, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Melissa

    What policies does the GOP want to fail? Affordable health care? Lessening our dependence on Foreign Oil? Regaining our standing in the world? Helping our veterans get the care that they deserve? I am confused!

    March 27, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. G. SMITH

    George Bush was a good President, he kept you safe for eight years, the economy was good for seven years until the Democrats took over and ruined it with their socialistic ideas. Those who voted Democratic I hope gets a brain and vote Republican in the next election to keep the Democrats out of office.

    March 27, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. S Callahan

    Those that know me in both the Democract and Republican circles know I will cast my vote where the greater good is for the people.
    I don't hold my vote 'just for a party'. I will pick the one that will serve the people best....ads are just that..trying to sell you their line...it's irrelevant to their true walk. Jim T. walks his talk...and if anyone can come up with ideas ..he can.....Murphy is a hyprocrite..he'd sell you out of house and home for a profit......Any person, righteous or not, would not stand for that. These are challenging times for EVERYONE...pick what is right..not because of the party but because of what needs to go forward.....it's not wrong to have someone disagree such as Jim with some of Obama's policies..what is wrong is saying one thing and doing another (ie: I'll bring jobs to NYS ..yet history shows that is not reality..the jobs are overseas).....

    March 27, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. jon c. sprowl

    anyone who votes democratis is a idiot.why are you people so out of touch and have no common sense? the socialist marxis are taking over this country.

    March 27, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. Chris

    C'mon, it's New York, have they EVER had a Republican? Seriously, it doesn't matter. I wish you people would see it. It's all a shell game to make you think there are two distinct parties.

    I mean, hello. Obama says "We've got to reinvade Afghanistan again to keep Americans safe." Sounds like Bush right???

    March 27, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. S Callahan

    Another thing that irks me...is why isn't the media focusing on the real intent of removing the oppsoing party (LIberterian?) from the vote...
    this poor guy had over 6000 signatures and because of a farce of technictality they removed him...the real story is...lots of people were going to vote for him in protest..and both Dems and Repubs knew this.

    Now , is that really fair?

    March 27, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. In Rep-20

    Rep-20 is a heavily republican district. It's too bad people only think of NYC when beyond NYC it's mostly Republican. That being said, it is amazing that Murphy is doing as well as he did but it goes to show how many people like Gillibrand.

    Tedisco is making himself very hated here. But I agree with the poll, he'll probably win in the end. Too many Reps. here.

    March 27, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Comet 2029

    Its time for new parties,the two party system is a total failure.

    March 27, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Bryan

    Folks, if you want this country to survive, do your duty as an American and start giving a crap about what goes on with the government. A two party system CAN'T represent everyone and its a system that is broken. Learn what else is out there and please stop settling for this stagnant political system run by people with their own interests at heart first. Americans roll over while these republicans in democrats, who are really two sides of the same coin, give your tax dollars away while thinking of new ways to hose the American worker. Politicians go where the money is!

    March 27, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. France boy

    Hey CNN, tell us about all of the other polls that contradict this. You are pissing a lot of people by your total support for the Manchurian.

    March 27, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. France boy

    I would vote for the forced re-education of all of New England. The fascists, child molesters, baby killers and drug addicts that are now in control of most social and political institutions their need to cleansed from society.

    March 27, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. JD

    Gee! New Yorkers voting for a liberal Democrat! STOP THE PRESSES!

    Give it a rest. Captain Obvious saw this one coming a mile away.

    March 27, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Mike

    Go Tedisco all the way!!!!!

    And in response to Chris, New York has had many Republicans. Things actually changed for the better, with people like Giuliani, New York's next governor!

    March 27, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. RSR

    Here is the first opportunity to vote out the "Tax & Spend" Democrats.
    Next...please get rid of Corzine in NJ.

    March 27, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Scott

    "George Bush was a good President, he kept you safe for eight years, the economy was good for seven years until the Democrats took over and ruined it with their socialistic ideas. Those who voted Democratic I hope gets a brain and vote Republican in the next election to keep the Democrats out of office."

    No, no, no. This did not all happen in two years. Come on, you can't possibly believe that. The Repulicans had 6 years of solid control over the country, and they failed. And now all I see from the Republican pundits are pieces about how the Dems are doing everything wrong...but offering no solutions. They don't have a clue what to do, and when the country needs them most, they have shifted their agenda to regaining power.

    March 27, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Dean in Florida

    Polls are like greeting cards...just a way for someone to make money. There's only one poll that matters.

    March 27, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. loretta

    Your polls are not right!!!!!!

    March 27, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. loretta

    Cnn is only for the dumocrates!!!!!!

    March 27, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. Zion

    People need to remember that to say that this vote is somehow a test of Obama is a fallacy. People voted for President Obama across political, cultural and racial spectrums. He is almost the first independent president we have. We cannot judge the acceptability of President Obama based on Democratic vote alone. This unusual phenomenon is what keeps me watching this particular presidency.

    March 27, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. JC

    SURPRISE! Any state that elects Hillary is screwed up and we couldn't expect anything else.

    March 27, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Barry

    Haven't the American people realized that by electing a Democrat to office they are in all general purposes electing the Communist Party of America. If the election of Obama and his grab for total power has not shown this to America then we deserve seeing our Constitution and way of life destroyed by this Party. Pelosi, Reid, and Obama have shown that their only concern is the rapid expansion of Government contol over Americans and the rapid decending path to a one party political system. If this is not Communism then I guess that I don't know what Communism is. Educate yourselves before voting and lets not allow our Country to fall into the ranks of the Socialist /Communist countrys like Venezuela, Cube, Russia, and China. I for one am proud of my country and know that our small government and freedoms is what defines America in the world.

    March 27, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Bev

    Amazing how they report that the race is neck and neck but the headline is gloom and doom for the Republicans. Again, bias reporting...are we surprised? No. People were stupid enough not to believe the GOP when we told you the democrats would railroad the economy (which they have) and grow government by historic proportions (which they are doing). We have a radical liberal in office who is driving this country into socialism using Europe as a model and that FAILED. We have European leaders BEGGING us not to go down that road yet the liberal media ignores that. People need to open their eyes before it's too late. No party has ever done good when they have unchecked power. The Democrats are trying to take over a free market economy and it will take years and years for the Republicans to fix it back. We do not want a welfare state. We need less government, not more. I am not going to stand by while the George Soros cronies try to take over this country.

    March 27, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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