A couple of interesting observations I heard on today’s Siena poll of key State Senate races.
The first has to do with Republican incumbent Serf Maltese, who is currently running even with his Democratic challenger, Joe Addabbo. Consultant Joe Mercurio said he found that “surprising,” since that’s basically how Maltese’s 2006 race ended up, and that was against a challenger who was virtually unknown.
"I figured Addabbo would do better than an unknown,” Mercurio told me.
The other observation was about Craig Johnson on Long Island, who has a 24-percentage-point lead over his Republican challenger, Barbara Donno. Of all of the six races Siena chose to look at, this one has the highest percentage of undecided voters: 26 percent.
Bill Cunningham, who used to work for Michael Bloomberg – who is supporting Donno – recalled working on a race in that part of Long Island years ago, and said that undecided voters in that earlier race broke late in the season for his candidate, thanks to direct mail and television ads. Which sounded like a hint at what his former boss might do in the race. When I asked Cunningham about the effect that Bloomberg might hope to have by spending money late in the race. Cunningham said, “I only know what I read in the papers and on the blogs.”
UPDATE: Addabbo campaign spokeswoman Alexis Grenell called to object to Mercurio’s analysis, and pointed me to her earlier comments. "With 80% name recognition but only a 48% favorability rating, the voters know Maltese but they don’t like him-the fat lady is warming up."
UPDATE II: A Johnson supporter called ("not to quibble" with Cunningham’s analysis, the caller said) to say that Donno has "had three TV commercials up on the air and a dozen mailers in the mail box for months," and she’s still way behind.