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. So.. if a conservative candidate wins

    in a district that has voted Republican for over 100 years.. this is somehow seen as a huge WIN for the party?

    Good luck guys.. you're gonna need it.

    November 2, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Juke in the 23rd

    The fact that Hoffman is simply a puppet for the national right wing extreme has many citizens living in the district, like myself, scared! The only reason this nut is in the forefront is the millions of dollars from special interest groups that have been pumped into a media blitz; these funds come from people that care nothing about the folks in the 23rd or the issues, but are financing their extreme and scary right wing agenda. Seriously, America, this guy is a fraud and a poster child only...he will do more harm than good for the people of the 23rd.

    November 2, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. single mom

    And so it begins.
    2010 is one year away!

    November 2, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. johnathan

    I'm glad to see all republicans so giddy that a democrat will not win in a district THAT LAST ELECTED A NON REPUBLICAN BACK IN THE WHIG DAYS OF 1700 OR 1800.

    So, pat yourself on the back Mr. Steele, it was ALL YOU BABY! (not)

    Referendum, my rear end!

    November 2, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Adler

    Is it really that big a deal if a conservative district goes for a conservative candidate? Is that really a bad sign for Obama???

    November 2, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Kevin

    so why/how did they get Scozzafava to bow out? It makes no sense. Obviously the Republiklans know how to intimidate a candidate.

    November 2, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Dental Hygienist

    Mr. Hoffman, if your mouth is any judge of your character, you will make a lousy, rotten, congressman.

    November 2, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Willy Brown

    Got Doofus Joe Biden stumpnig for the democrat. Looks like a win for Hoffman and the start of a long goodbye for the Obummer terror.

    November 2, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. haren

    There is no loyalty in american voters.
    How they can vote for a guy who does not live in district does not know local issues and dumb like his supporters.

    November 2, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Mike in LR

    More proof there is little difference in the 2 parties any longer. I'll vote for any conservative but not any republican. I'm all for individual freedom and liberty and smaller government. That's why I never vote for a liberal. And as the polls show I'm in the majority. Thank God for that. The way these liberals attempt to trample our freedoms and intrude on our lives you would think they are in the majority. Oh well, BO will be a one term wonder and we can get a conservative in there. But not necessarily a republican.

    November 2, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Billy J..Texas..

    Well, if he wins, the locals that voted for him will get exactly what they deserve. They will be used as fodder for bigger ambitions that have nothing to do with the local community. I can't believe a man who can't answer a single question about 'local' issues, and cannot vote for himself because he does not reside in the district would get elected, but then again, I live in Texas, and we voted Bush and Perry in as Governor..... again, we get what we deserve when we allow these bums to be elected.

    November 2, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. joe daniels

    Since the NY 23rd was served by three democratic congressmen in a row between 1979 and 1993, could CNN please correct the lie that it has always voted GOP?

    November 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. AJ

    And this tells us that much of the NY 23rd are hate filled, hypocritical, Bible banging bigots. Hillbillies in other words. This is any big surprise? Lets hope that if he wins the Democratic party will exile him to political Siberia and cut off any Federal Funding for this region. All conservatives are rotten human beings. I dont undestand why they dont move to the deep south where they belong.

    November 2, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. T'SAH from Virginia

    Ewwww!! Look at Hofmann and look at Owens – One of them looks like they have SENSE and the other one looks like a MANIAC!!!!

    I am a native-New Yorker but not from the northern part of the state. But I know if I were able to vote in that district, I would go for the one that looks like they have SENSE!!!

    November 2, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    That is great news!

    Hoffman wins and then the neo-cons think they have the magic recipe for winning in 2012 by running the "christian" Twitter twit for national office, because they would overlook the fact the district has been red for over 100 years and running a neo-Nazi conservative was the only reason Hoffman won!

    Now, if her supporters vote for Owens, then the Dems win a seat that has been solidly red for over 100 years
    .
    And that will have to get the neo-NAZI's attention(altho, they are pretty stupid so this may wash over them as well).

    November 2, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Jane/Seattle

    These polls are just here to confuse people in an attempt to INFLUENCE them to turn to the highest poller! I ignore these matters and look at the people running to pick the one I think will be most effective in helping the citizens without wealth and power. This is why Greg Nickols, Seattle Mayor, is out and we are choosing between two other folks. He was not representing we the little folks much, but Big Bidness was doing great with him! Peace from a Seattle, WA Leftist!

    November 2, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Mike in MN

    Looks like Hoffman represents the values of the voters much better than Scozzafava. Scozzafava was not picked by the district Republican voters in a primary, she was picked by a few party officials who apparently don't represent the values of the people in the district. This looks like a great example of the people taking their government back form out of touch party officials. Good for them!

    November 2, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. mjm

    The Democrats are trying to take over health care and LacrosseMom wants to know how the Federal government intruding in our lives.

    The stimulus money went to fund the payrolls of government run school, aka the teachers union. Is that specific enough?

    I wonder how the schools would be doing if Carter hadn't federalized the schools back in the 70's. That was government takeover of the private sector and the school system has limped on ever since.

    Two out of three American auto makers are owned by the federal government....guess that takes care of UAW workers.

    Nobody is trying to stop abortion....In fact we may encourage it with Democrats

    November 2, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. DJ

    yeah he looks really kooky in that photo

    November 2, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. mary

    It will be interesting to see the "Palin effect" in the hoffman/owens race. I don't think Palin has much effect in rural upstate ny. that's why I think owens will take the race to the finish line. however, virginia is a different story. even the repubicans are keeping an "arms length" from her – not sure whether she is good for business.

    If I were a republican, I would run as fast and as far away from Palin as I could recognizing she is just a politician. haven't we had our fill of that variety of representation?

    November 2, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. P. D.

    So let me get this straight. These people are going to vote for a guy who #1, Doesn't live there, #2Who was picked, NOT by the local residents, but the Righties like Palin. #3, Who pounded that poor woman with the most vile political ads. Well, You get what you vote for.

    November 2, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Lacrosse Mom, Get a job!

    This is a direct reflection of what people think of Obama. People are beating down the doors to start voting to get Obama out. Now with Acorn out of the picture we might actually get an honest election. Scozzafava was obiously just planted by the dems, like a wolf in sheeps clothes. The people knew she wasn't a republican and that is why her poll numbers plummeted, and it was made all the more obvious when she backs a democrat candidate. Libs really are the scum of the earth.

    November 2, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Zion

    Go Hoffman. A great trojan horse to help destroy the Republican Party.

    November 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Dean O

    DearJoe (Biden): Liberals will be taught the lesson come Tuesday 8pm. Not conservatives. You and Obama can do all the campaigning you want for Deeds and Corzine. but when they both lose what will you say? I guess the turnout was low and people are scared...so they voted against the incumbent party – not a reflection on the DEM party. LOL. I see it now – CNN and MSNBC and CNN making excuses.

    November 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Aunt Bea and Opie

    If you liked Cheney,you will love Hoffman.

    November 2, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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