Is NY-26 Slipping Away?

With less than 72 hours to go in the muddled election for New York’s 26th congressional district seat, the final Siena poll for the race has some Democrats stocking up on party balloons and licking their chops in anticipation. (And this is a seat which has been held by a grand total of three Democrats since 1857.) Even though she had consistently held a slim, but manageable lead throughout, the numbers have been sliding in the wrong direction for Republican Jane Corwin for the last month. Dave Weigel reports over at Slate.

The new Siena poll in NY-26 has Kathy Hochul surging to a marginal lead over Republican Jane Corwin. The numbers, with trends”

Kathy Hochul (D) – 42 (+11)
Jane Corwin (R) – 38 (+2)
Jack Davis (Tea) – 12 (-9)
Ian Murphy (G) – 1 (no change)

Davis has taken a battering on the air, from both camps, but most of his supporters have moved over to Hochul. She now has an 8-point lead with independents, and she holds more Democrats (76 percent) than Corwin holds Republicans (66 percent). Another source of strength for Democrats: Among voters who don’t have jobs, Hochul leads by 7 points.

Normally Ed Morrissey is the expert in tearing apart cross tabs for polls, but here they are. The district has reliably performed as an R+6 for some time now and the sample was 41% Republican to 35% Democrat. Plus, Siena has a pretty solid track record.

Up until now, plenty of observers (as well as Hot Air readers) had written this off as a case of another 3rd party candidate mucking up the works. Previously, the assumption among some circles up here was that if voters became educated about fake Tea Party candidate Jack Davis, they would drift back over to Corwin and she would slide across the finish line with close to the usual margin. But the support for Davis is cratering in the final week and, oddly, the converts seem to be breaking toward Democrat Kathy Hochul. If Davis continues to fall at the current rate he may well finish in single digits and be less of a factor than originally assumed.

So where are the voters breaking? The three biggest issues of concern cited by voters were, in order, Medicare, the deficit and jobs. Among voters concerned with the deficit, it’s no surprise that Corwin sweeps them by a 21% margin. The largest group – those concerned about Medicare – are breaking for Hochul by a wider margin, 38 to 9. The shocker is in the third category – those concerned about jobs. Republicans should clean up in that area, but those voters have split evenly between Corwin and the Democrat.

I contacted a political consultant – who chose not to be identified – who is not involved in this election, but has worked on several upstate NY Congressional races to get his take on it. “I don’t see anything wrong with the sample at all,” he said. ” I can’t talk about it publicly, but we’re going to lose that race.”