Democrat Kathy Hochul leads Republican Jane Corwin in New York’s special election next Tuesday, according to a Siena Poll released Saturday.
The poll of likely voters found that 42 percent of respondents would vote for Hochul if the election were held today, and 38 percent would vote for Corwin. That is a turn-around from the last poll Siena released, on April 29, which had Corwin leading Hochul 36 percent to 31 percent.
The special election to replace former Congressman Chris Lee was expected to be an easy one for Corwin in the predominately Republican district. The April 29 poll surprised many, showing that Hochul not only had a good shot, but that third party candidate Jack Davis, who is running on the Tea Party ballot line, was taking a significant number of votes from Corwin and could prove to be the spoiler.
Since then, a number of prominent Republicans and Tea Party groups have turned out to campaigned for Corwin. The National Republican Congressional Committee and Tea Party Express, among others, have run ads and held rallies in support of Corwin, and tried to discredit Davis as a fraudulent Tea Party candidate.
Davis’ share of the vote has diminished to 12 percent from the 23 percent he had at the end of April. But this is not good news for Corwin, as the votes that Davis lost appear to have gone to Hochul.
Moreover, when voters were asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each of the candidates, only Hochul had more than 50 percent favorability, and had more favorables than unfavorables. Voters appear to have become somewhat disillusioned with Corwin: 49 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of the state assemblywoman, and just 43 percent had a favorable opinion. In the last poll, more voters held a favorable opinion of Corwin than an unfavorable one. Davis is even more unpopular – 64 percent of voters hold an unfavorable opinion of him.
Hochul’s attacks on Corwin that she supports the Paul Ryan budget and therefore wants to end Medicare appear to be working. A plurality of voters said that Medicare was the single most important issue for them in deciding which candidate to vote for, and 38 percent of those people say they are voting for Hochul, while just 9 percent plan to vote for Corwin.
Jobs are the second most important issue, followed by the federal budget deficit. Corwin and Hochul tie among those for whom jobs are the foremost concern, and Corwin leads among those most focused on the deficit.
As the campaigns amp up their get-out-the-vote efforts in the last days leading up to election day, Corwin appears to have a slightly bigger hurdle than Hochul. Asked how certaint hey were of their vote choice, 73 percent of those voting for Hochul said they were absolutely certain, while 66 percent of those voting for Corwin said the same.