Too good to check: Hoffman leading in NY-23?

So says the Club for Growth, which polled 300 likely voters in the district — and it’s almost outside the margin of error.  Douglas Hoffman, whose candidacy caught fire over the last couple of weeks, now has 31.3% of the vote, while the endorsed Republican trails by over 11 ponts:

A poll released today by the Club for Growth shows Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman surging into the lead in the special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district to replace John McHugh, the former congressman who recently became Secretary of the Army.

The poll of 300 likely voters, conducted October 24-25, 2009, shows Conservative Doug Hoffman at 31.3%, Democrat Bill Owens at 27.0%, Republican Dede Scozzafava at 19.7%, and 22% undecided. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 5.66%. No information was provided about any of the candidates prior to the ballot question.

This is the third poll done for the Club for Growth in the NY-23 special election, and Doug Hoffman is the only candidate to show an increase in his support levels in each successive poll. The momentum in the race is clearly with Hoffman.

“Hoffman now has a wide lead among both Republicans and Independents, while Owens has a wide lead among Democrats. Dede Scozzafava’s support continues to collapse, making this essentially a two-candidate race between Hoffman and Owens in the final week,” concluded Basswood Research’s pollster Jon Lerner, who conducted the poll for the Club.

If the reaction of the GOP base to Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Hoffman didn’t get the attention of party leadership, then the results surely will.  Many conservatives wondered whether splitting the vote now would be worth it in order to position Hoffman against a weak Democratic re-election effort in 2010.  This survey shows that the vote split here may be benefiting Hoffman rather than damaging him.

Republicans usually win this district easily, so a 4-point lead over a Democrat is still worrisome — and this is just one poll.  Twenty-two percent undecided voters will make the difference.  However, with the large influx of money to Hoffman and the national attention he has received, that may be the best news for the Conservative Party in this race.

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