Don’t be put off by the dKos label. Research 2000, their pollster, is a reputable outfit, so these numbers are probably in the ballpark of where things actually stand. Remember too that the campaigns have been whispering for the past week that internal polls show a two-man race now with Scozzafava fading. Consider this confirmation.

R2000 did miss an opportunity, though, by failing to poll Scozzafava voters on who their second choice is. That would have finally given us a sense of how things are likely to break if her supporters decide she’s a lost cause next week and force themselves to choose between Owens and Hoffman. Instead, they polled Hoffman’s supporters on that question, which was stupid given that he’s vaulted past her and thus is no longer the one playing spoiler. What’s fascinating about this election is that not only has the nominee of one of the major parties been relegated to the traditional third-party role of bleeding votes from a more popular candidate, but because Scozzafava’s essentially running in the center, between Owens and Hoffman, there’s no telling who she’s bleeding more votes from. Are supporters of the liberal Republican more inclined to break for a Republican or for a liberal? The best we can do at the moment to gauge that is to compare the number of Republicans voting for her to the number of Democrats. Behold:

dk

34/13, which suggests (but doesn’t quite prove) that she really is pulling more from Hoffman than from Owens. No wonder InTrade currently favors the Democrat to win 50/42, with Scozzafava just a five percent shot to pull the upset. Exit question via Stuart Rothenberg: Isn’t it true that the Democrats might not be unhappy to see Hoffman win this given the encouragement it would provide to third-party conservative challengers next year? And, conversely, that the GOP might not be sad to see Owens win, knowing what a stern cautionary tale this would be for right-wing independents mulling midterm runs of their own? Maybe that’s why the RNC is propping Scozzafava up, to keep bleeding Hoffman in hopes that Owens will eke it out. This way, even if they lose the battle to the Democrats in NY-23, they’re more likely to win the war next year.