Just remember that NY-09, which sent Anthony Weiner to the House seven times in a row. It has a Cook index of D+5, a significant registration advantage for Democrats. This district voted for Barack Obama 55/44 in 2008. And yet, with just four days to go before a special election to replace the disgraced Weiner, Siena’s new survey of 886 likely voters show the Democratic nominee David Weprin six points behind the man who couldn’t come within 20 points of Weiner in a massive Tea Party midterm:
Heading into the final days of the special election for New York’s 9th Congressional District seat, Republican Robert Turner has taken a 50-44 percent lead over Democrat David Weprin, according to a Siena (College) Research Institute poll of likely 9th CD voters released today. In Siena College’s previous poll on August 10th Weprin had led Turner 48-42 percent.
Turner is viewed favorably by 48 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 34 percent, while Weprin has a 41-41 percent favorability rating. By a 43-32 percent margin, likely voters say Turner is running the more positive campaign, and by a similar 39-30 percent margin, they say Weprin’s is the more negative campaign.
That’s actually a bit surprising, too. Turner’s obvious strategy was to turn the race into a referendum on Obama, which entails plenty of negative campaigning. Perhaps voters simply don’t perceive it that way since they seem to think that Weprin isn’t too bright. A surprising 32% of Democrats plan on voting for Turner on Tuesday. Ninety-six percent say that there is no chance or is unlikely that they will change their mind before Tuesday. But it may not be Weprin’s negative favorability that is the problem for Democrats.
Recall that Obama won this district by eleven points in 2008. What do voters think of him now? Siena’s crosstabs show Obama’s approval at 43/54 in this Democratic district in New York City. Among Democrats, he only has a 59/38 approval rating, hardly a strong vote of confidence in the party leader. Independents in the district give him an abysmal 29/68 job approval rating, and he has majority-disapproval ratings among all gender, age, religion, and income categories. He’s even underwater among union households, 46/52.
If Turner pulls off the upset on Tuesday, Democrats will find a better candidate for the 2012 election to run against Turner than the hapless Weprin, who has a terrible record in elections anyway. But if Obama is at the top of that ticket, Turner has a pretty good shot at holding the seat if these approval numbers stay the same.