A new poll in the race for Congress shows Bill Owens holding a lead over two candidates who represent battling wings of the same party.
The poll by the respected polling firm Research 2000, done for the liberal website Daily Kos, shows:
- Bill Owens (D): 35%
- Dede Scozzafava (R): 30%
- Doug Hoffman (C): 23%
- Undecided: 12%
The poll was conducted from Monday to Wednesday of this week and has a margin of error of 4%. (More details here.)
The results are very close to a poll from Siena College, which was released a week ago. That the numbers have remained relatively constant indicates that there was not much movement in the race in the last week or so. However, a series of slips by Scozzafava happened late in the week, while Hoffman picked up significant support at week’s end from former House leader Dick Armey and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
This Congressional district is reliably Republicans and, lacking a Democrat with star power, should have been a relatively easy win for the Republican candidate. But local party leaders picked Scozzafava, whose stands on abortion and gay marriage mark her as more of a typical Upstate New York Republican. Hoffman finished secondn to Scozzafava in the party’s balloting for its nominee and had at first promised to support Scozzafava. He changed his mind, however, and prominent conservative groups such as the Club For Growth and Eagle Forum came to his aid.
Daily Kos writer Steve Singiser, in discussing the poll, said that the undecided vote is a source of potential strength for Owens, as the undecideds are disproportionately Democratic and young.
A few other points from the poll:
- Despite high-profile support and aggressive ad campaigns, Hoffman remains unknown to most voters. 54% say they either don’t know who he is or have no opinion of him;
- Scozzafava has the highest positives among the candidates — 38% have a favorable opinion of her, versus 33% for Owens and 27% for Hoffman — but at 35%, she also has the highest unfavorable ratings;
- Scozzafava has less room for positive growth than the other candidates. Only 27% have no opinion of her, as opposed to 43% for Owens and 54% for Hoffman;
- The pollsters asked an interesting question only to Hoffman voters. Those voters were asked for their second choice. 62% were undecided, 26% would not vote at all, only 9% would pull the lever for Scozzafava and just 3% would vote for Owens;
- 52% of those polled favor a public insurance system to compete against private insurance plans;
- A 53%- 39% majority opposes legal gay and lesbian marriage.