The seat in New York’s Ninth Congressional District vacated by Anthony Weiner is due to have a new occupant in less than two weeks. Much to the dismay of Democrats, however a distinct possibility looms that the longtime-blue seat could turn red.
A Siena Research Institute poll released on August 10 shows Democrat David Weprin ahead of his GOP rival, businessman Bob Turner, by a slender 6-point margin—close enough to make the contest a horse race. The breakdown of voter preference shows Weprin with 48%, Turner with 42%, and 9% undecided.
Two factors in how the outstanding votes might break are the president’s high disapproval rating among Democrats (42%) and the profile of the typical voter. Speaking with respect to the latter, the institute’s director, Don Levy, observes:
This is not the Upper East Side of Manhattan; this is a conservative, working-class district, and it means something different to be a Democrat. If you hold the president up as a straw man, if he represents complete allegiance to the Democratic Party and rejection of current Republican critique, it’s not solid in this district; it’s by no means, right now, a rubber stamp district for the Democrats.
Hank Sheinkopf , a New York Democratic strategist, echoes the view: “It’s not an Obama Democrat district, it’s a Harry Truman Democrat district, which means people can do almost anything given an opportunity of alternatives.”
What voters do or don’t do, moreover, may reflect recent gaffes by Weprin. When asked about the size of the national debt by the editorial board of the New York Daily News, the candidate initially looked lost, then responded that it’s about $4 trillion. He was only off by $10 trillion.
The day after the Daily News published the story, Weprin canceled his appearance in a debate against Turner, claiming that his schedule had been unexpectedly affected by the cleanup after Hurricane Irene. On top of that, the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee has injected large transfusions of cash into the race on behalf of Turner.
Yet, the Democrats still have a breeze, if not a brisk wind, at their back. As a press release from Siena notes, voters favor almost two-to-one (65% to 33%) a tax increase on the “wealthy” (those who earn at least $250,000). The opposition to touching entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security is even more overwhelmingly, at 72% to 24%.
With voting turnout for special elections historically low, the race is one that will be worth watching as it enters the home stretch.
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This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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Update (AP): Just across from Hotline. Wow.
GOP SHOCKER: Republican Bob Turner is tied with Dem David Weprin 42-42, and has the momentum in #NY09 special, per Turner internal