Poll suggests GOP might pull upset in fight for Weiner’s seat
September 9th, 2011
11:22 AM ET
11 years ago

Poll suggests GOP might pull upset in fight for Weiner’s seat

(CNN) – Just four days before voting day, a new poll showed Republicans may turn out a big upset in a special congressional election in New York City to replace former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner.

GOP candidate Bob Turner, a businessman, now holds a six-point advantage over Democratic state assemblyman David Weprin in the contest in the ninth congressional district, according to Siena Research Institute poll released Friday. Turner’s margin over Weprin is within the survey’s sampling error.

On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

When asked who they would choose if Tuesday's contest was held tomorrow, 50 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Turner, while 44 percent said they would pick Weprin.

Also significant, most voters in the district, which covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens, seem to have already made up their minds. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats said they were absolutely certain on their choice, and 82 percent of Republicans said there was no chance they'd change their mind.

And 76 percent of independents, a crucial voting bloc in this race, said their decision was firm.

The results mark a major boost for Turner, who was down by the same amount–six percentage points–in Siena's last poll on Aug. 10. The poll had Weprin leading 48 to 42 percent over Turner.

"The voters of Brooklyn and Queens are speaking to Mr. Obama through this contest, and they will not be silenced." said Turner spokesman William O'Reilly in a statement Friday.

With the election around the corner, the results confirm recent Democratic concerns over losing the longtime Democratic seat. The party has held the district for decades, with Democratic voters outnumbering Republicans three to one.

Two national Democratic groups have pumped large sums of cash into the race within the last two days.

Yesterday the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said they took out a $500,000 ad buy in the New York media market. This morning the House Majority PAC–an independent group committed to restoring the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives–released their own ad and said they spent six figures on the buy.

And Obama for America, the president's re-election organization, sent out hoards of volunteers within the last week to canvass for Weprin.

The Republican National Committee countered Friday, announcing efforts to raise money for a grassroots get-out-the-vote drive this weekend.

"We have a strong conservative candidate in Bob Turner who has the opportunity to win a congressional seat in the heart of New York City," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement. "He is facing a career politician who will vote in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi in support of Barack Obama's failed economic policies that have added $4 trillion to our national debt in only three years."

National Republican Congressional Committee Chief Pete Sessions declined to speculate whether the GOP could pull off an upset, only saying "I anticipate with a good candidate good things will happen."

He also didn't say if the NRCC was ready to put in any financial resources, only saying, "The regular and normal things are occurring in the race with the NRCC being involved."

As the race got underway in June, the Democrats' nominee pick of Weprin, a state assembly member with strong name recognition in Queens, was widely seen as a safe bet.

But Turner is no stranger to campaigning in the district. He challenged Weiner in November and came in with 40 percent of the vote, the strongest second place finish for a Republican the district had seen in a while.

The race went negative quickly, as each campaign began attacking the other on a variety of issues, namely Israel and entitlement programs-two big issues for a strongly Jewish district with a heavy senior population.

“David is focused on making sure voters in Queens and Brooklyn understand Republican Bob Turner’s radical agenda to protect corporate tax loopholes while slashing Medicare and Social Security for hard working New Yorkers," said Weprin's spokesperson Elizabeth Kerr in an email Friday.

Both candidates have pulled in big name endorsements from their respective parties, but Turner made headlines when he received the backing of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. The Democrat hopes a Republican win will send a message of Democratic discontent over President Barack Obama's policies on Israel's future borders.

The winner of Tuesday's election will take Weiner's seat, the seven-term congressman who resigned in June after admitting to sending lewd photos via Twitter.

If Turner pulls out a victory, he will become the second Republican in New York City's congressional delegation.

The poll was conducted by the Siena Research Institute Sept. 6-8, with 886 likely voters in the ninth congressional district questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser and CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Filed under: Anthony Weiner • Congress • New York
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    GTFOOH. This why I don't trust polls. A republican winning in Brooklyn & Queens? You can't be serious. As a native Brooklynite, that'll never happen!

    September 9, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Sandy

    People are not that stupid, are they?

    September 9, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Brian

    Good for the GOP, the dumb Democrats forced Weiner out when they should have just let him go to rehab and let the media circus move on. Instead they turned on him and now may pay the price.

    September 9, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    I still say the polls are misleading. They need to poll some of the public senior housing and nursing homes, where hundreds and hundreds of seniors live off Medicare and Social Security. They use them as polling places, instead of public schools, which are in session.

    September 9, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Roxy

    @Conserva – I agree with you 100%. I don't for one minute believe that this area was polled correctly.

    September 9, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. C. Howe Yulikit

    And when Weprin wins by 4 what will the pollsters say then?

    September 9, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "People are not that stupid, are they?"


    Next question.

    September 9, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. The Elephant in The Room

    In heavily Jewish Queens, the GOP has played the Israel-card. I`ll never support Americans that put Israel ahead of American interests.

    Obama is not against Israel but he rightly calls on it to not be so blindly and arrogantly beligerent and I agree with him.

    If Jewish New Yorkers elect a GOP`er, do they really think that person can best advance their interests with the Whitehouse?

    September 9, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. John, PA

    Upset, count on it, Anthony Weiner represents exactly what Obama and the Democrats in Congress are – LIARS. The Democrats will stand there and lie thru their teeth to achieve their agenda, no matter what it costs or affects. The voters understand this.

    September 9, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. ART

    Sorry I don't beleive this poll for one minute, people of New York are just not that gullible.

    September 9, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Lou

    They want government cradle to grave so its not going to happen. Its kind of like NY Jews rooting for Israel over the Palestians – seems rational and genetically natural but they don't thnk that way. Non practicing Jews vote Dem just like blacks.

    September 9, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. John K.

    The news gets even worse for you. You know those social-welfare states in Europe that you guys are so in love with?
    I am talking about Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. Their economies are melting down today and the risk of sovereign defaults is rapidly increasing. It seems that their governments promised too much when they could not afford it. It wasn't like their taxes were too low, either. Does any of this sound familiar?

    September 9, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. haha

    John, PA........I see....and the GOP never, ever lies, right? Give me a break.

    September 9, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    John K.

    The news gets even worse for you. You know those social-welfare states in Europe that you guys are so in love with?
    They have lasted longer than the military driven economy of the Soviet Union. They had "small government", a strong military, and no government entitlements. They even had a state approved religion. Sounds like the conservative vision for America, doesn't it?

    September 9, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Rickster

    I'm not surprised by this. The only people left who are voting for democrats are the completely insane.

    September 9, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Does any of this sound familiar?"

    Ask any economic expert: Greece went belly up because it responded to an economic crisis by making gigantic cuts to government spending waaaaay too fast and pretty much eviscerated the last source of money flowing into the economy. So yes, it does sound familiar.

    September 9, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Wake up NY!!!!

    A vote for Turner, is a vote for Rush Limbaugh.

    September 9, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. John K.

    @Rudy NYC

    "They have lasted longer than the military driven economy of the Soviet Union. They had "small government", a strong military, and no government entitlements. They even had a state approved religion. Sounds like the conservative vision for America, doesn't it?"

    No government entitlements?????????????
    The entire basis of the Soviet Union was government entitlements, i.e., socialism, communism. You should be familiar with those two concepts as that seems to be your side's vision for America.

    September 9, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. ggwindsor

    poles are good for delivering hydro and cable

    September 9, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |