Hochul made her opposition to the budget that Republicans pushed through the House -- a proposal backed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that would make changes to the Medicare program -- a centerpiece of her special-election victory last year. But the poll shows respondents split evenly on which candidate they trusted on Medicare even as the issue gains prominence with Ryan's emergence as vice presidential nominee, 43 percent for Hochul and 43 percent for Collins.
Overall, the poll shows both candidates' negatives rising as the campaign enters the final month. Forty-seven percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Hochul, down from 52 percent in August. Her unfavorable rating has ticked up, from 33 percent in August, to 39 percent now.
Collins has seen a similar decline in his numbers. While the percentage of voters who view him favorably is roughly the same now (46 percent) as it was in August (48 percent), the percent viewing him unfavorably rose to 40 percent, from 33 percent in the previous poll.
The poll was conducted Oct. 1-4, surveying 633 likely voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.9 percentage points. The poll was the top story in Sunday's editions of the Buffalo News.