Poll: Race Tightens in Upstate N.Y. District
Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., holds a modest lead over his Democratic challenger, but the gap between them has narrowed dramatically in the past month, according to a new independent poll.
Gibson leads former prosecutor Julian Schreibman, 48 percent to 43 percent, in a Siena College poll released Tuesday. When the university last polled the race in New York's 19th District, in mid-September, Gibson led Schreibman, 52 percent to 38 percent. Schreibman's name recognition and standing with independent voters have both improved amidst an expensive advertising campaign in the Albany area.
Siena College conducted the new poll from Oct. 27-28, surveying 635 likely voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.9 percentage points.
In September, nearly two-thirds of those polled said they hadn't heard of or didn't have an opinion of Schreibman; now nearly two-thirds of district residents have formed opinions of him, though slightly more (33 percent) view him unfavorably than favorably (30 percent). Slightly more people have heard of Gibson, too: 46 percent view him favorably, up from 43, while 31 percent view him unfavorably, up from 28.
Schreibman's gains appear to come from consolidating Democrats, who largely hadn't heard of him in September, and breaking through among independents. Gibson and Schreibman are in a statistical tie among independents -- 46 percent for the incumbent, 44 percent for the challenger -- in the new poll, while Gibson led 50-34 among that group in September.
President Obama leads Mitt Romney for the district's presidential vote, 50 percent to 42 percent, a slightly wider gap than the 50-45 result in September. (Obama beat John McCain 53 percent to 45 percent in the district in 2008.) Majorities view Obama favorably and Romney unfavorably in the poll, likely among the reasons the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has linked Gibson, Romney, and his running mate Paul Ryan in TV ads in the district.
Outside groups including the party committees, Democratic-leaning unions like AFSCME and SEIU and the GOP-aligned non-profit Crossroads GPS have spent nearly $5 million in the district, mostly on TV. The Democratic message has focused on Medicare changes in Ryan's budget plans, as it has elsewhere, but while Medicare hasn't been the nationwide silver bullet House Democrats hoped it would be since Ryan joined the GOP presidential ticket, party strategists do feel it has helped make a difference against Gibson, a freshman. Gibson voted for Ryan's budget proposal in 2011 but against it in 2012.