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. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I can't wait until 2010...or better yet, 2012.

    November 2, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. TLD

    The CONSERVATIVE Republican Party is a disgrace and an abomination. There is something putrid about these guys and gals. The Republican Parties of past decades did not make me want to shower after I hear or see them speak on issues. I think it may have started with the Newt Gingrich Crew a few years back.

    November 2, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Fan of Common Sense

    I think New York and the rest of this country is finally starting to wake up.

    November 2, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. aa

    who votes for this idiot???

    November 2, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. CLIFF

    Scozzafava has FINALLY shown her true self. A long-time socialist and liberal she NEVER held the values of conservatives.
    I think she also realized she was going to get her "Demo loving ideals" handed to her on a plate come election day.
    I do appreciate her ADMITTING she is a Democrap in her ideology!

    November 2, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Proud Member..Party of No

    The democrats led by Barry Hussein have blown their chance. Tomorrow is the beginning of the end for the worthless democrats and the begging of the conservative rise.

    November 2, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Mike, Albany

    Even the republican candidate Scozzafava is now backing the democrat over Mr. Yellowteeth. The republican party is truly a fractured entity.

    November 2, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Tom Norris

    Seems to me the people that are on the extreme are those who want to silence opposition to political party operatives who appointed Scozzofava. Im listening to the rhetoric tht pronounces those who believe in the literal interpratation of our constitution as Nazis with a little amazement, since it is the same left wing idealogues that want to turn our country into a government run subsidy state. Wow extreme means to believe in freedom, life, liberty and the persuit of happiness. The truth must never be redefined. To the Lacrosse mom, cap and trade and government subsidized health care that requires us by law to enroll, Im sorry where' the freedom.

    November 2, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. vic nashville , Tn

    These conservatives put G.W. Bush in trouble

    Any way by 2010 no more GOP

    November 2, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Independent and Senior Lilarose in Oregon

    Put more conservatives into office and soon we will have another

    Bush in the White House!

    You bet!

    November 2, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Jefe

    I'm sick of people referring to Palin-types as "Conservative".

    The growing and rising power in this nation is not the extremists, the 30% on either end of the idealogical spectrum, which encompass the so-called "middle" as well. Its the TRUE Conservatives, those who are against foreign intervention, against big government, against deficit spending, against government interference in private lives.

    A True Conservative would be against foreign wars, against government deciding who can or cannot be married, against government decisions on abortion, against Reagan/Bush/Bush/Obama-style debt spending.

    "Social Conservatives" belong in Iran or North Korea. They have no place in the United States. You can't be a supporter of Bush policies, but against gay marriage and call yourself a conservative. Bush was a hard-core, ultra-liberal, with a hint of Sharia-type government social-controls, and anyone who thinks otherwise was blind for 8 years.

    November 2, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Jay

    I have my opinion, it is righteous.

    You have your opinion, it is wrong.

    My people will win, your people will lose.

    My spokesperson is a genius, yours is an idiot.

    There is no common ground, only the darkness and the light.

    I pity you all.

    November 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. joe daniels

    CNN says: Republicans have represented this area of the state since 1872.

    Peter Peyser (1979-83), Sam Stratton (1983-89) and Mike McNulty (1989-93) are former Congressmen for the 23rd, all Democrats.

    It's a curious thing, the way the media try to make a close race look like a huge sea change by telling an outright lie about the district.

    I guess it's one to retract AFTER Tuesday.

    November 2, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Steve, New York City

    What message is the Republican party trying to send people? "If you're not a caucasian, right-wing extremist, there's no place in the party for you!"

    Are they for real?

    Hoffman is frightening. With all of his conservative values, it doesn't look like he's been too conservative with his dental hygiene.

    November 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. Fan of Common Sense

    If a conservative can win in a heavily democratic state like New York and New Jersey, then expect a real blood bath for the democrats next November. I can't wait. :-)

    November 2, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Earnán

    Wow, look at the liberals frothing and foaming.

    Hoffman apparently finished gnawing on the bones of puppies and, pausing only to shank a couple of kittens, made his way to the campaign office...

    After controlling Congress for 3 years...

    After a whole year of having *COMPLETE* control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, the liberal Democrats are *STILL* trying to blame George Bush for everything.

    Wow, there's a surprise.

    After three years it's still "We're the party that isn't Bush."

    Some inspiring leadership you guys have got going there.

    November 2, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. chubby

    Time for America to vote Conservative not for a party. Time to put these liberals back in their closets and only come out to collect their government checks each month.

    November 2, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. rony

    So, let me understand this "carpetbagger" Hoffman, is bad news, but "carpetbagger" Hillary Clinton was okay for her to run?

    November 2, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. Bob of Lompoc

    OK, he can surge to power and up end the Obama Presidency with the help of all the other Conservative Party members in Congress. Let's see, there is......., and......., and then there is......., and don't forget....... – in other words, who cares! He is sort of a Republican Parrty Charge Of The Light Brigade.

    November 2, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. PaulMoATX

    A conservative candidate that knows nothing about local issues directly pertaining to D23, just ask the Watertown Daily Times. At a daily times editorial board meeting, he couldn't answer questions relating to local transportation and other economic issues..."A flustered and ill-at-ease Mr. Hoffman objected to the heated questioning, saying he should have been provided a list of questions he might be asked. He was, if he had taken the time to read the Thursday morning Times editorial raising the very same questions.". Smart candidate who's in tune with what's going on in the district he'll be representing.....not.

    While the left-leaning populous doesn't have much to lose, since it's 1) The HOR and 2) The seat was left behind by a Republican, John M. McHugh, who is now the United States Secretary of the Army, it would be nice to pullout a victory here. My hope is that with Dede backing Owens and there being about 17% undecided, that the election will go to Owens; say by 3-5% points. In short, it would be a nice win, but not a required win for Democrats.

    November 2, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. Hammerer

    The media is trying to explain away the voters in NJ not following party lines.
    It is very simple. People are feed up with Washington politics and politics as usual. If they would only stop listening to the politicans excuses and open their eyes and their ears they would understand.
    Really does not take a brain surgeon, just a little common sense.

    November 2, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. New Yorker

    Looks like Obama's plan to assign conservative John McHugh to a new post in order to send a RINO to the House may backfire. I hope so because without the help of conservative republicans this country will slide further into the clutches of the Obama regime where we will find ourselves with far less freedom than we have ever known.

    November 2, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Mike, FL

    The conservative Republicans (sorry I meant the American Talibans) are simply a joke!

    November 2, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. Barbara Independent in NY

    I don't understand how someone that doesn't live in that Congressional district can run for office. Even more confusing is why anyone in that district would vote for him. I've been to that part of New York and while it's a very nice part of the state, let's just say that no one would consider it a "big tent" area.

    November 2, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. aware

    I am an Independent but I say go Hoffman!

    Because when you kick God out you let the devil in! :(

    November 2, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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