The highly-respected New York pollster Siena conducted another survey in the wake of Dede Scozzafava’s withdrawal from the special Congressional election in NY-23. The poll they released 48 hours ago pushed the embattled liberal Republican out of the race — and into endorsing the Democrat, Bill Owens. It didn’t help, according to Siena’s new survey, which shows Hoffman ahead by 5:
On the eve of Election Day, Conservative Doug Hoffman has opened up a five point lead over Democrat Bill Owens in the race for the 23rd Congressional District. Republican Assembly member Dede Scozzafava still gets six percent support, but since her decision to suspend her campaign and support Owens, the number of undecided voters has doubled from nine percent to 18 percent, according to a new Siena (College) Research Institute poll of likely voters.
”Hoffman continues to demonstrate momentum, picking up six points since Scozzafava pulled out,” said 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.”
In other words, the race is in a state of flux that may not lend itself to predictions. Much will depend on the motivation of Scozzafava’s former supporters, who may just take a pass on the election altogether.
However, the indications are that would hurt Owens more than Hoffman. Since the Saturday poll, Hoffman has increased his draw of Republicans in the district from 50% to 63%, while Scozzafava Republicans dropped from 29% to 9%. Owens now has slightly more independents than Hoffman, probably as a result of becoming the de facto Republican in the race. Interestingly, Owens has lost a little ground with Democrats, dropping from 66% to 62%, while Hoffman improved slightly from 14% to 15%.
Siena notes that Owens leads in the northeastern part of the district, but has dropped a point since Saturday while Hoffman picked up a point. Both men gained in the northwest at the expense of Scozzafava — which had been her stronghold until she withdrew — and are essentially tied. In the south, though, Hoffman has gained nine points while Owens lost five, indicating a significant shift in the race.
One other indicator of a big shift: Hoffman’s favorables have increased dramatically. He has gone from 23% just three weeks ago to 47%, and now leads Owens by ten points after Owens dropped three points since Saturday. In fact, Hoffman has better favorables than Joe Biden, who is arriving today to campaign for Owens. If nothing else, Hoffman has the momentum heading into the final stretch.
Update: Confederate Yankee wondered how he got on the ballot against Hoffman. Should have been Bill Owens, not Bob. My apologies.