Second poll finds Hochul with lead in N.Y.-26

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Democrat Kathy Hochul seems poised to pull of an upset in the special election in Western New York’s 26th congressional district, according to a poll released Sunday evening by Public Policy Polling.

With just two days until the election, PPP found that 42 percent of respondents plan to vote for Hochul, while 36 percent said they would vote for Republican Jane Corwin. Third party Tea Party candidate Jack Davis received 13 percent of the vote.

The results of the poll are almost identical to the results of a Siena poll released Saturday, which found Hochul with 42 percent of the vote, Corwin with 38 percent, and Davis with 12 percent.

Corwin was expected to be the strong favorite in the generally Republican district, but the race has turned into something of a nail biter.

Though Davis is no longer taking a significant amount of the vote, possibly due to ads run by Corwin’s campaign and independent expenditures on her behalf attacking him, Corwin does not appear to be doing herself any favors: 52 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of the state assemblywoman.

The attacks on Jack Davis as a usurper of the Tea Party identity appear to have been successful. 71 percent of those identifying themselves as members of the Tea Party said they planned to vote for Corwin; Davis got just 16 percent of the Tea Party vote in the poll.

The results of the poll suggest that voters are not necessarily deciding based on partisan loyalties. The district tends to lean Republican, and indeed, 46 percent of respondents said they were somewhat to very conservative, and 30 percent called themselves moderate. Voters are split on whether they would like their new representative to caucus with Democrats or Republicans in Congress.

A problem for Corwin appears to be that her support among Republicans is weaker than Hochul’s support among Democrats. Seventy-four percent of Democrats said they would vote for Hochul, but just 61 percent of Republicans said they would vote for Corwin. Davis and Hochul each get 16 percent of the Republican vote.

The special election will be held Tuesday.