Poll: Owens Holds Double-Digit Lead Over Doheny
Democratic Rep. Bill Owens holds a healthy, double-digit lead over Republican challenger Matt Doheny in New York's 21st Congressional District, according to a new Siena College poll released early Monday.
Owens leads Doheny, 49 percent to 36 percent, the poll shows. Green Party candidate Donald Hassig captures 6 percent of the vote, and 8 percent of likely voters are undecided.
The new 21st District has a significant Republican lean -- Republicans in the poll outnumbered Democrats by 13 percentage points -- but Owens' firm advantage is bolstered by a commanding lead among independent voters, 54 percent to 24 percent.
Overall, 51 percent of likely voters say they have a favorable opinion of Owens, compared to 36 who view Doheny, who lost to Owens in 2010, favorably. Doheny's negatives are also higher than Owens': 31 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Doheny, while only 22 percent view Owens unfavorably.
Owens is on the precipice of the critical 50-percent threshold for an incumbent, even though only 58 percent of poll respondents live in the 23rd District Owens currently represents. Indeed, fully half of likely voters say they would vote to reelect him, compared to 30 percent who would vote for someone else.
The poll also shows -- despite the district's GOP registration advantage -- President Obama inching ahead of Mitt Romney in the presidential race, 50 percent to 45 percent. Like Owens, Obama holds a large lead among independents, 57 percent to 38 percent.
The Siena College poll was conducted Sept. 4-6, during the Democratic National Convention, but before Obama's acceptance speech last Thursday night. The poll surveyed 638 likely voters, for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.9 percentage points.
In a statement emailed to reporters at the same moment the poll was released, Doheny said that his campaign's "internal polling shows a much closer congressional race with Mitt Romney prevailing in the presidential contest." The emailed statement did not provide any specific polling data from the campaign's internal surveys.