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.