Surprise! The former state senator (who had a lukewam reception last night) expelled from the legislature after assaulting his girlfriend, Hiram Monserrate, is not leading in the polls.
Also, the leading candidate is calling this race a “litmus” test for same-sex marriage. And although this is an election open to every registered voter, the district is so heavily Democratic, that it might as well be a Democratic primary, where the “litmus test” line will probably work well.
In the final days before the 13th Senate District special election, Assemblyman Jose Peralta, the Democratic candidate, has a commanding lead over former Senator Hiram Monserrate (Yes We Can Party) and Republican Robert Beltrani, according to a new Siena (College) Research Institute poll of likely voters. Peralta has the support of 60 percent of voters, Monserrate has 15 percent, and Beltani has nine percent, with 16 percent still undecided. Peralta leads in every region of the district and among voters irrespective of race, religion, gender, or age. He is viewed as better than both other candidates on three issues. A majority of voters has closely followed Monserrate’s legal issues and expulsion from the Senate, and give him an overwhelmingly unfavorable rating. On the question of same sex marriage, voters are evenly divided.
“Peralta enters the final weekend of the campaign in a commanding position, holding a 45-point lead over Monserrate, with Beltrani in single digits,” said Siena New York pollster Steven Greenberg. &ldquoPeralta leads by more than 50 points among Democrats, who make up nearly three-quarters of the voters in this district. He also leads by more than 30 points with independent voters and even has a slim two-point lead over Beltrani with Republicans, the party Monserrate does best with, at 19 percent.
“As the old cliché goes,the only poll that matters is the one on election day. And it is certainly true that special elections usually produce very low voter turnout, making it crucial for all three campaigns to identify their voters and get them to the polls. That said, this election is clearly Peralta’s to lose,” Greenberg said.
Peralta leads among Democrats with 67 percent to 14 percent for Monserrate and five percent for Beltrani. Among Republicans, Peralta has 34 percent, to Beltrani’s 32 percent and Monserrate’s 19 percent. Peralta wins with independent voters at 47 percent, while the other two candidates each have 13 percent. Peralta holds majorities, 55 percent in Corona, 69 percent in Jackson Heights, and 52 percent in Elmhurst/East Elmhurst/Woodside, in every part of the district.
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“Peralta is well known in the district and well liked. He is viewed favorably by 60 percent of voters and unfavorably by 12 percent. Monserrate is also well known in the district but he is viewed unfavorably by more than twice as many voters as view him favorably,” Greenberg said. “Beltrani is unknown to three-quarters of the voters.
“Nearly three-quarters of the voters have followed the events surrounding Monserrate’s legal issues and Senate expulsion closely, with 37 percent saying they followed it very closely. That certainly helps to explain his 56 percent unfavorable rating,” Greenberg said.
Which Candidate Would do a Better Job Representing You in the State Senate on . . .
Fighting for our local interests at the State Capitol
Bringing ethics reform to State government
Addressing problems with the State budget
“Voters give Peralta a huge edge when it comes to who they think will do a better job representing them in the Senate on ethics, budget and fighting for local interests,” Greenberg said. “Even a plurality of Republicans gives the edge to Peralta on the issues.
“On an issue that has garnered a lot of media attention in the campaign, legislation to legalize same sex marriages in New York, voters in the 13th S.D. are divided down the middle, 44 percent to 44 percent. Peralta voters favor same sex marriage 51-37 percent, while Monserrate voters oppose it more than two-to-one, 60-29 percent. Peralta wins big among supporters of same sex marriage, and even has a majority of same sex marriage opponents voting for him,” Greenberg said.
“It’s certainly premature for Assemblyman Peralta to start moving his papers from one chamber in the Capitol to the other chamber,” Greenberg said. “In low-turnout special elections anything can happen, however, it seems unlikely that ‘former Senator’ Monserrate will be losing the first word in that title come next Tuesday.
UPDATE: Peralta campaign spokesman Evan Stavisky likes the results, but isn’t taking anything for granted:
“We are obviously gratified, but in a special election anything can happen so we will leave nothing to chance.
Each day, hundreds of campaign volunteers are knocking on doors and making phone calls asking people to help get out the vote. Jose Peralta is campaigning hard every day and talking to his friends and neighbors throughout the district.”