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. Duh

    So easy to pick out the faithful koulterite/hannity crows - look for references to ACORN, socialism, etc. They all say the same thing without having the slightest idea what they are talking about. They think if they throw out thebuzzwords they hear repeated ad nasuem by their "daddies" then it means something. I particulalry loved hannity's about face on mccane in the election. During the goop primaries mccain was a socialist devil. Once he was the candidate it took less than a week for him to be the second coming. And this idiots audience were and are so stupid they forget what he said two days before. But they will repeat whatever they are told that they think today with the fervor and zeal of the true believer. Anbd will completely contradict it tomorrow with equal qusto and never even notice the difference.

    March 27, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Paula, I thought the Doctor told you to take ALL of the meds he prescribed. This is a minor off year election in a small part of NY State. If the Rep wins, expect major hot air from Rush, Steele etc. about turning the tide and the Dems saying this was no big deal. If the Dem wins, expect major crowing from Begala, Emanuel, etc. about how the Republicans have fallen and can't get up, and the Reps saying this is a minor setback. In the end, whoever is elected will be the 435th member of the house and will have exactly zero impact on anything.

    March 27, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Oregon calling

    Thank you NYC Repub

    Peace 🙂

    March 27, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. carol

    I hope Murphy wins....wohooooo!

    March 27, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. In Houston, TX

    hn said

    The country is generally republican. It only turns to democrats when their vallet is hurt by the republican strategy of pepping up the rich boys boil over like it did now. When democrats fix the economy the country will go back to electing republicans

    If that is true, then we are a country of suckers. forgetful suckers!

    March 27, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Patrick

    If you think think the commentary at CNN is relfective of the real world, especially any polls they point you to, you need to get out more.

    Pollster shows a whole collection of polling agencies and their data. I suggest you guys living in a democratically controlled distortion field get a grip and check out a wide selection of real numbers.

    Obama's DIS-approval rating is steadily growing, and he is now at or below Bush levels at these same points in time fresh in Presidency.

    So, Bush was liked even more than Obama at this point in time as a new president...and look at how you guys say that went! I will give him time alright...plenty of time to go down in flames.

    March 27, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. New Yorker in the CD relize that this is the same pollsters that gave Tedisco (the GOP) a 20 point lead earlier in the race right?

    Go Murphy!!!

    Lets keep this district blue!

    March 27, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. yuri

    Hey Dems! you'd better not squander this opportunity, else, there will be less pleasant alternatives to encounter, for the NY denizens who are achin' for another change.

    March 27, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. Duh

    Ummm - "the country is generally republicon?" Democrats hold more than a 10% margin over republicons right now. And many many many studies show that when polled on their stance on issues Americans are overwhelmingly center left. Which is exactly where the Obama administration is, and exactly where the Democratic part yis. republicons think that because their party has drifted so far right that it fell off the political spectrum that centrist policies are "leftist." Nonsense. It is the right that is way out of touch, not just with most Americans, but with Americans throughout our history, and with the rest of the world.

    March 27, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Gregg

    Even if a republican wins it wouldn't be a measure of the whole country!

    March 27, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    What who you vote for folks; President Obama is looking more and more like George W. Bush on a lot of the same political issues. He has finacialy backed someone that may have tax issues which no one even knows about?

    March 27, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. John

    Well Obama did us all a favor by giving a very left leaning Hillary the Secretary of state job. This allowed Gillibrand a very moderate dem to get the Senate seat. Regardless of the polls Tedisco will ost likely win the election. So this works both ways The rebups gain a dem ally in the senate who will not blindly follow Obama and they gain a congressional seat.

    March 27, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Joe

    Unfortunately the people in NY must have their head in the sand. It is insane they keep supporting the democratic party and it's number one idiot Barney Frank along with his band of losers. It is no longer the "Change we can believe in" it's do you have any "change left" gang.

    March 27, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Stephen

    We need new blood in the political pipeline so as long as the GOP candidates continues to spout the same old tired platitudes and use the same old divisive political commercials of mud slinging, hopefully intelligent and knowledgeable people will continue to look at the other candidates.

    I'm also hoping that some of the establishment DEMs (Reid, Pelosi, Rangel, etc.) will also get the boot when re-election time rolls around. It is "REALLY" time for a change!!!!

    March 27, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Greg In Colorado

    Go Dems!!!!! Yet another poor repub down in the polls. 😦 tres sad

    March 27, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Adam

    Ha, look at what has become of the country since the dems took over. Well, the voters only have themselves to blame for this mess. Don't say I didn't warn ya.

    March 27, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. David

    Gotta love the CNN bias. The headline says bad news for GOP but when you read the story its basically a dead heat.

    March 27, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. Mariann Pepitone

    Kimberly: When a college institute takes a poll lookout for the democrat always winning however, a recent poll showed the republican ahead of the democrat. I don't give credit to college students taking a poll because they don't have the brains to sit on or a window to throw them out of. They voted for Obama and look what happened to the economy. It got worse. Now he wants to give billions to the palestinians. Get a grip

    March 27, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. mckennanj

    What cnn fails to mention, and every other liberal news corporation for that matter, is that Scott Murphy is a wealthy wall street banker who paid himself and his executives big bonuses, and he has outsourced jobs to India and lived a life of wealth and privilege. Jim Tedisco is a former school teacher. The next time you hear Democrats talk about how much they respect teachers and other working people just think of Jim Tedisco. The Democrats are spending millions of dollars to keep him from the U.S. Congress. Democratic hypocracy.

    March 27, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. today

    I believe the day of the republicans is over, with them embracing people like limbaugh, coulter, palin, just to name a few of the NEGATIVE people that support their party, (just say no republicans.)

    March 27, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Neutralizer

    Tedesco will win. A lot of people is suffering from buyers remorse, they've found out Obambi is not what the media concocted him to be. They wanted to deduct Democraps from both houses not add. People do not forget. Those who voted and supported Porkulus Bill of Obambi worth $787 Billions will suffer the consequence next year. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

    March 27, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Larry

    Republicans do not historically do well in a state that the people live on entitlements and government hand outs,they will vote Democratic .The fact that this race is so close could be because people are starting to realize just how bad the Democrats are destroying our country's future.

    March 27, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Wayne from Fullerton, CA

    This article contadicts itself:

    "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 ""

    But then you say:

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

    March 27, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Upstate Rich

    As someone is voting in this race I am amazed at the stupidity poeple here. YEs VA Jim there are republicans here I was one. The 20 is almost a solidly Repubublican district with a 55/45 split. It was purposely drawn to keep former congressmen Ned Patterson and John Sweeny republicans in that seat(see cq poltics map) The fact republican srewed this race up shows how far its fallen. JIm tedisco should won this race going away. He has name, money and was know quanity here (though he doesn't actually live in the district). Clowns like you are the reason we keep lossing.

    As for the clown in florida Senia is Cathic college doesn't lean left. It just reasonable accurate polls NY state local races as local. So you should really worry!

    Go Saints

    March 27, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Joel

    Special elections are often a sign of how a party is doing, but ultimately, it just that, a sign. Sure, its a feather in the cap of whichever party wins, but it's only one seat out of 435. In all honesty, this race may be better for the losing party; its a lot easier to look back and think "we lost, now why did we lose and what can we to do better next time" than it is to think "we won, but what could we have done better".

    March 27, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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