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Poll: Ritchie Holds Small Lead in State Senate Race

Patty Ritchie holds a tiny lead going into the final hours of the campaign for the 48th State Senate district, a new poll from the Siena Polling Institute finds.

Ritchie’s four point lead over incumbent Democrat Darrel Aubertine is within the poll’s margin of error, meaning that the race should be considered a tossup.

The St. Lawrence County Clerk held a small lead in Siena’s first poll of the race a month ago. At that time, 43% of those polled either did not know who she was, or had no opinion of her. A month later, that number is down to 17%. It has driven up both her favorable rating (53%, virtually the same as Aubertine’s) and her unfavorable rating (30%, lower than Aubertine’s 39%).

Ritchie’s 47-43% lead leaves 11% of voters undecided going into Election Day.

“That’s tight and that’s going to go down to the wire,” Siena pollster Steven Greenberg told New York State public radio stations.

Though Aubertine is viewed favorably by 53% of voters, 50% say separately they’d prefer to vote for someone else.

The incumbent Senator continues to hold his stronghold of Jefferson County, where he’s viewed favorably by 60% of voters. 48% of voters in the district’s other two counties, Oswego and St. Lawrence, view him favorably. Ritchie cannot match Aubertine’s numbers in Jefferson or Oswego counties, but holds a stunning 70% approval rate in her home county, St. Lawrence.

Independent voters appear to be making the difference for Ritchie. They prefer her by a 47 to 39% margin. Aubertine does better with Republicans than Ritchie does with Democrats.

Ritchie is preferred by men; Aubertine, by women. Aubertine leads in Jefferson County, while Ritchie leads in St. Lawrence and Oswego counties.

“Aubertine has been successful in this district with a significant Republican enrollment edge twice, however, he now appears to be in the battle of his political life. Ritchie has become better known over the course of the campaign and now has a stronger favorability rating than Aubertine. With just days until voters go to the polls, both campaigns need to focus their energy on turning out their supporters. The North Country may be in for a late night of counting on Tuesday before a winner can be declared,” Greenberg said.