November 2nd, 2009
11:35 AM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Hoffman grabs the edge in NY-23

Poll: Hoffman grabs the edge in NY-23.
Poll: Hoffman grabs the edge in NY-23.

(CNN) - The Conservative Party candidate in the special election for New York's 23rd congressional district has a 5-point edge over the Democrat in the race, according to a new poll.

But the Siena Research Institute survey, conducted the day after the Republican in the race suspended her campaign, suggests that roughly one out of five voters in the district remain undecided just hours before Election Day.

The race has captured national attention because of a split among Republicans, which could allow a Democrat to win the district for the first time in over a century.

The poll indicates that 41 percent of likely voters support Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, with 36 percent backing Democrat Bill Owens, and 6 percent supporting Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava, who suspended her campaign on Saturday. Scozzafava's name remains on the ballot.

Eighteen percent of likely voters are undecided, double the amount from a Siena survey released Saturday, hours before Scozzafava dropped out of the race. Owens was at 36 percent in that poll, with Hoffman at 35 percent and Scozzafava grabbing one in five voters.


Scozzafava suspended her campaign after a flood of support and contributions by some top conservative names and organizations for Hoffman. Over the past few weeks, the fiscally conservative Club for Growth and the Hoffman campaign have both hit the air with TV spots that paint the third-party candidate as the race's true conservative.

"Hoffman continues to demonstrate momentum, picking up 6 points since Scozzafava pulled out," says Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. "It appears, however, that the majority of Scozzafava's supporters have gone to neither Hoffman nor Owens, but rather into the undecided column, which has doubled since Scozzafava ended her candidacy."

The survey suggests that Hoffman has increased his lead among Republicans, while Owens maintains his advantage among Democrats and has captured a slight lead among independents from Hoffman.

"Owens kept his lead in the northeastern counties steady, while Hoffman extended his lead in the southern counties, and the two are dead even in the northwestern counties, the area in which Scozzafava previously led," says Greenberg

"With nearly one in five voters undecided the day before Election Day and voters still trying to comprehend the dramatic withdrawal of Scozzafava, and her subsequent endorsement of Owens, this is still a wide open race," adds Greenberg.

The seat opened up after nine-term Republican Rep. John McHugh stepped down after being confirmed as Secretary of the Army. The largely rural district spans 11 counties in northern New York.

Republicans have represented this area of the state since 1872. McHugh never won less than 60 percent of the vote in his nine election victories, but Barack Obama did edge out John McCain in the district in last year's presidential election.

Scozzafava won the nomination in a vote taken by the 11 GOP county chairs in the district, rather than through a traditional primary election. The local Republican leaders picked the state assemblywoman, who was also backed by the National Republican Congressional Committee, because they felt her moderate views would appeal to centrist Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats.

The move sparked a revolt among many conservatives, who were angry with what they call her liberal views on same-sex marriage and abortion. They are backing Hoffman, an accountant, who is running on the Conservative Party line.

The Siena College Research Institute poll was conducted Sunday November 1, with 606 likely voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Bill Owens • Dede Scozzafava • Doug Hoffman • NY-23
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Jobless Recovery

    Libs take note. Conservatives are done rooting for political parties. Take Note!! Political Parties care nothing for you...only about power and money.
    Repub party;....if you field "democrat light" politicians they will lose. We are sick of bailouts, huge government programs and debt!

    November 2, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. rick

    Hoffman looks insane.

    November 2, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Carla

    This race is a testament to the POWER of Sarah Palin. Her simple endorement and fearless stand for conservative values has thrown both sides of the race into a tizzy. Sarah Palin is a powerful political force and this shake-up just reiterates that fact.

    November 2, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. Ed Tallahassee

    Wow the Republicans are having the party hi-jacked by the far right.

    November 2, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Jeffrey Harris

    I am supporting Doug Hoffman because he believes that the Federal government should be less intrusive in our lives. He believes that individual freedom and liberty can thrive and flourish if the government and its' obnoxious policies and regulations would simply get out of the way. Lower tax burdens, no ACORN funding, no Cap & Tax legislation, no Stimulus spending for 'pet constituents' like the UAW and Service Employees Union, and no public takeover of healthcare...
    My support of Hoffman has NOTHING to do with abortion or gay marriage.
    Take note of this fact, please.

    November 2, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. mjm

    He seems happy enough....

    November 2, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. robert

    That is what I like to see. The people voting for the person that they feel is the best man for the job and not voting for their respective party. If we take a closer look at all of the great men and women running as third party candidates, Washington might become a better place!

    November 2, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. CHANGE.COM

    This Hoffman guy looks scary. Blood could ooze out of his teeth when he speaks! Is that the face of conservatism? You nut wings have lost all form of human decency.

    November 2, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Pepou

    Vote democrat !

    November 2, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. jd

    These races show how very unhappy a great many Americans are about the heavy handed way in which their wishes are being ignored by the current administration and Congress. People know that money doesn't grow on trees, even if Congress doesn't. People know they will, ultimately, foot the bill for all of these spending excesses and they are going to be trying to modify them. The people are sending a message, and Congress better start listening soon.

    November 2, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    I will be suprised if this idiot actually wins in a republican district .m most republicans are finnally getting tired of the lies and threats and how much the Bush Cheney Rove 8 years destroyed this great nation :)

    November 2, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. LacrosseMom

    How is the Federal government intruding in our lives? Be specific. GOPers make these statements, but where's the proof?

    Acorn has been funded by BOTH Republican & Democrats. The far-right continues to demonize a community group they hate.

    What Stimulus money has been given to the UAW or Service Employees Unions??? Be specific.

    (excuse the yelling) HOFFMAN CAN NOT STOP ABORTIONS FROM BEING LEGAL. ITS A CONSTITUTIONAL LAW.

    Good grief!

    November 2, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Bren

    This is GREAT news--possibly another big loss for Obama and the Democrats on Tuesday.

    Let's hope that New Jersey does the same-–tells Obama, Corzine, and the Democrats to get lost.

    November 2, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Jerry

    Finally, the RINO shows her true colors. Conservatives are finally being heard after being made the "Silent America" for so long. We are tired of being ignored by the "tax and spend" fanatics of both parties. If you think that Hoffman looks insane, it is only because the mainstream media continues to try to portray him as such. The Republicans are not being hijacked by the right, not any more than the Democrats have been hijacked by the extreme left.

    November 2, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Bob

    Dems should let this happen, then spend the next yr highlighting everything far right about this guy, as an example of what the GOP has become.

    November 2, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. tarheel

    Thank goodness that Conservatives like Palin and Pawlenty endorsed Hoffman instead of Scozzafava who is more liberal than her Democrat rival. The 23rd district is Conservative Republican leaning and should have a different choice other than Far-Left and Way Far-Left. I assume that Scozzafava will now quit pretending to be a Republican and change to the Democratic Party.

    November 2, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Rosebud

    This survey was done before Dede saw the light and now stands behind and supports the local Democratic candidate. Conservatives assume they can do as they please, which is obvious, even if it means forcing their views and candidates from outside this district. This is more of an issue of local politics for local people. Not carpetbaggers from Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota.

    November 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Chad

    Yeah, these conservatives want less intrusive government......except telling people who they can marry and whether or not women have the right to choose! Telling a woman what to do with her uterus sounds pretty invasive to me!

    November 2, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but....

    I have yet to see any politician who promises to help upstate actually help upstate. Thank God I escaped from there when I did. Whoever wins, nothing will change there. Have a nice day!

    November 2, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Chuck Euless, Texas

    Take note? LOL

    November 2, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Who on the Whitehouse guest list..Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers

    The far right or the far left like Obie.

    Government run car companies, banks, going for healthcare and the energy sector.

    November 2, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Robert

    Grab your popcorn folks, and watch the smackdown in the Republican Party!

    However this race shakes out, the Democrats will be able to use it to their advantage. If the clueless conservative carpetbagger Hoffman wins, the Dems can say he represents the future of the Republican party. If Hoffman loses, the Dems have captured a seat in a Republican "stronghold."

    Oh, the fun is just beginning!

    November 2, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. Lisa in FL

    The minute, and I mean the minute, these teabagging conservative loons win in any of these 3 elections tomorrow, I hope President Obama goes to each one of them that wins and hands them a big, fat mop so they can start helping to clean up the mess they created under Dick and W. I think President Obama should actually commission Dick and W so they are forced to work to clean up their own mess! Start mopping conservatives and make sure you bring all your sheep with you. Has the Wasilla Hillbilly got her mop yet?

    November 2, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Tony

    Polls taken immediately after Scozzofava's withdrawal show that Hoffman has a majority of the electorate on his side. Looks like the last of the party stragglers have backed Hoffman.

    November 2, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. dale

    If the people elect one more dem into office with the current situation in Washington this country is going under. I don't really care for the replublicans either but we have got to slow down the dem's. They have lost their minds.

    Our wallets are not big enough to pay for what they have in mind.

    November 2, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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