Republican has six-point lead in upcoming NY special election

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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In a once safe Democrat seat, Republican Bob Turner holds a six-point lead over Democrat David Weprin in the special election to replace ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, according to a Siena poll released Friday.

According to the poll, 50 percent of likely voters in New York’s 9th Congressional District currently plan to vote for Turner on Tuesday, while 44 percent plan to vote for Weprin.

The results are a complete reversal of the last time Siena polled the race, when they found Weprin with a six-point lead. Even those results were considered surprising, as Democrats have a large voter registration advantage in the district.

Turner is also more well-liked in the district than Weprin. 48 percent say they have a favorable opinion of Turner, while 34 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion. People are more divided on Weprin, with 41 percent saying they have a favorable opinion and an equal percentage saying they have an unfavorable opinion.

Turner’s support is not limited to Republicans: 32 percent of Democrats say they would vote for him if the election were held today. Weprin gets significantly less cross-party support, with just 6 percent of Republicans saying they would vote for him.

Weprin, however, gets a slightly larger percentage of the district’s hotly contested Jewish vote, getting 51 percent of the vote compared to Turner’s 45 percent. Turner, somewhat improbably, narrowly leads among union household voters, 45 percent to 41 percent.

The Turner campaign touted the results of the poll as evidence that voters saw the special election as a referendum on Obama and would use it to send a message that they do not like his policies.

“Queens and Brooklyn voters of all political parties are sending a terse telegram to President Obama that they are unhappy with his economic agenda and his hostile stance toward Israel. Today’s Siena Poll captures that in a snap-shot,” said campaign spokesperson William O’Reilly.

“The Obama agenda has failed and will continue to be a drag on Democrats across the country – even those in deep blue districts,” echoed National Republican Congressional Committee eCampaign Director John Randall.

The issue of the United States’ Israel policy has been spoken about often in the race, given the large Jewish population.

“David is focused on making sure voters in Queens and Brooklyn understand Republican Bob Turner’s radical agenda to protect corporate tax loopholes while slashing Medicare and Social Security for hard working New Yorkers,” said Elizabeth Kerr, Weprin’s communications director. “David is committed to protecting Medicare and Social Security, creating jobs here in Queens and Brooklyn, and making sure that folks who work hard and play by the rules have a fair shot at the American dream.”

The poll continues a trend seen in previous polls that shows Turner is significantly more competitive in the race than had been expected. A Magellan poll released Monday found Turner leading by four points. Both sides are pouring significant amounts of money into the race in the final days before the election – including a half-million dollar ad buy by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and an ad buy by the Democratic Super PAC House Majority PAC.

Polls aside, NY-09 residents still see Weprin as the likely victor in the race. 49 percent say they expect him to win, while 38 percent say they expect Turner to win.

A New York based Republican political consultant echoed that expectation.

“Special elections are about intensity and turnout,” the consultant emailed. “Turner has the intensity but doesn’t have a strong enough turnout operation.” Weprin, on the other hand, does: the “DCCC has sent in hundreds of operatives to manage the Weprin turnout effort.”

Ultimately, the consultant said, “organization trumps emotion.”

The special election will be held on Tuesday.