Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hochul continues to lead in NY-26

Democrat Kathy Hochul continues to appear poised for an upset victory in Tuesday's special election for Congress in New York's 26th Congressional District. She is polling at 42% to 36% for Republican nominee Jane Corwin and 13% for Tea Party candidate Jack Davis.

Since a PPP poll of the race two weeks ago Hochul has gained 7 points of support and Corwin has gained 5 while Davis has dropped by 11. It appears that Hochul has done a good job of staying above the fray as the campaign has taken on an increasingly negative tenor in its final days. Hochul's favorability is a +14 spread at 51/37, up 8 points from the previous poll when it was +6 at 46/40. Corwin meanwhile has seen a 15 decline in her net favorability. She was already unpopular at -3 (39/42) on our previous poll but that is now much worse at -18 (34/52). Davis has seen the biggest decline in his image though. Voters were evenly split 43/43 in their assessments of him two weeks ago. Now his favorability spread is a horrid -39 with only 23% of voters rating him positively and 62% with a negative opinion.

Davis' presence in the race is certainly a key reason Hochul finds herself in such a strong position. He is winning 16% of the Republican vote while getting only 8% of Democrats. Still it would be unfair to Hochul to say Davis is the only reason she might pull the upset- she is showing a good amount of crossover support, getting 16% of Republicans to Corwin's 11% of Democrats. And she's also up 36-34 with independents. There were not very many House races in 2010 where the Democratic candidate won 16% of Republican voters and the independents.

There's still reason though to think Corwin could pull this race out. By a 41-39 margin voters in the district would like their new member of Congress to caucus with the Republicans rather than the Democrats in the House. Those planning to vote for Davis hold that sentiment by an even wider margin at 48-20. Davis' support has been plummeting and if that trend continues and conservatives who don't really like Corwin hold their nose and end up voting for her anyway she still has a chance to win a narrow victory.

Beyond Jack Davis, here are some of the key reasons Hochul is in the lead:

-Voters in the district are way down on the new Republican majority and actually think things are worse now than when Democrats were in charge of the House. Congressional Republicans have just a 26% approval rating with voters in this district to 59% who disapprove. Only a bare majority of GOP voters (50%) think their party's doing a good job in control while Democrats (84%) are pretty unanimous in panning the new Republican majority and independents split against it by a 19/64 margin as well. Only 34% of voters think the new GOP majority is doing a better job than the Democrats did to 38% who think they're doing worse and 27% who think things are the same. NY-26 reflects the deep dissatisfaction we're seeing nationally with the new GOP House.

-Barack Obama's not popular in the district...but John Boehner is even less popular. Obama's approval is a -9 spread at 42/51 but Boehner's is -17 at 28/45. Democrats did terrible last year because all voter dissatisfaction was directed toward them but now even in Republican districts Boehner's more unpopular than Obama- the Speaker could prove to be a good foil for the President and Democratic House candidates across the country next year as he seeks reelection and they try to win back the majority.

-The enthusiasm gap and Democratic turnout issues that were such a huge problem for the party last year may prove to be a thing of the past. Last year we frequently found that the likely electorate for various elections was 10 points or more Republican friendly than it had been in 2008. That trend is turned on its head with the folks we interviewed who said they were likely to vote this weekend- they self report having voted for Barack Obama by 5 points in 2008 when he actually lost the district by 6 points. That points to Democratic voters being far more fired up to go out and vote in this election than GOP ones and also suggests that some Republicans voters disgusted by the level of negativity between Corwin and Davis may just be planning to stay home on Tuesday.

A Hochul win is by no means certain- the race remains very close, special elections are tricky to poll, and three way races are even trickier to poll. But the fact that we're even talking about this race is a reflection of how far out of favor the new GOP House majority already is with the voting public.

Full results here


sass said...

I hope we can get them upset forever. How dare they take extreme legislative action with my Grandchildren and with my SS and Medicare. Who are these people? They're obviously rich and uncaring of the elderly, the middle class, the disabled and whomever has no power, money and lobbyists working for them in DC.

Anonymous said...

Looks about the same as the Siena poll (well, except Davis's support is distributed a bit more evenly there.) Interesting; but it looks like it'll be hard for Corwin to manage the upset now.

Anonymous said...

One suggestion for NY polls: Would it be possible to simulate multiple ballot lines in your polling question?

Ex: Ask "Who would you vote for?
1 for Jane Corwin on the Republican party line
2 for Jane Corwin on the Conservative Party line
3 for Jane Corwin on the Independence Party line
4 for Kathy Hochul on the Democratic Party line
5 for Kathy Hochul on the Working Families line
6 for Jack Davis on the Tea Party line
7 for Ian Murphy on the Green Party line"

It might have some small significance to voters which of the minor parties have endorsed who (the independence party is usually contested for their nomination, for that reason.)

Statistikhengst said...

However, a six point lead is certainly something to consider. Lee swept this district 73.6% to 25.4% (margin: GOP +48.2%)in 2010.
However, in 2008, 2006, and 2004 and, the DEM share of the vote was between 41% and 48% percent, an average of 44.33%. So, the figures for Hochul can very well show that the DEM base has come home to support Hochul and the GOP loss is due to an intra-party split. If Hochul just gets to 44.3%, as long as Davis (Tea) holds on to 10.8% of the 13% polled for him here, then she wins.

Further, this polls shows her actually pulling away from Corwin by +2. This is a good sign. Unless all those tea partiers cave at the last minute, I put my bet on Hochul.

Now it all comes down to GOTV GOTV GOTV.

Alan Robinson said...

The one odd part of both this poll and the Sienna poll is the difference in candidate choice by age. Younger voters are voting more Rebublican which is different from most other polls you run. Why? Could it be that the hot issue only swung older voters away from traditional patterns? Also it may be looking at this cohurt over time in national and state polls to explain changes in Dem. prospects.

fladem said...

Is this a bad sample? In a GOP district there is only a 3 point gap between Dems and Republicans.

Shumer's net positive is +20 and Cuomo's is +35.

Maybe this is right, but in what is supposed to be a GOP district I find those numbers surprising. PPP's tack record is excellent, but I have a little doubt about this....

Anonymous said...

Let me call Doug Hoffman and Tim Burns. and see what they think =) I'm not convinced. I think the GOP edge will carry Corwin over! (Hopefully)

Anonymous said...

Looks like the final margin will indeed be in the 5-6% range. Congrats on getting it right! (As well as the general trend.)

678 Media Group said...

PPP was right once again ... good call ...

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