ALBANY—Scott Murphy, who was unknown to voters six weeks ago, has pulled within four points of Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco in the race to succeed Kirsten Gillibrand in Congress, according to a poll released today.
The last Siena Poll showed Tedisco ahead by 12 points. A poll released yesterday by Murphy's campaign showed Tedisco's lead had narrowed to seven points. The poll, conducted this week and surveying 712 likely voters, has Murphy just outside the 3.7 percent margin of error.
"Scott Murphy has significantly narrowed the gap against Jim Tedisco, trailing by only four points in a district that has a 15-point Republican enrollment edge," said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena New York Poll. "Only 13 percent of voters remain undecided – down from 20 percent – and nearly 90 percent of voters say they are absolutely or fairly certain they will not change their minds."
The voters surveyed said Murphy would do a better job on the economy than Tedisco; 42 percent picked Murphy compared to 30 percent at the end of last month. Tedisco's standing on the issue increased four points to 38 percent. The Murphy campaign is making Tedisco's hedged-opposition to the federal stimulus package their major talking point.
Murphy is also leading Tedisco in the northern counties of the district – Warren, Washington and Essex – by a 15 25 point margin. Tedisco has had trouble with the Republican political establishment there after he was nominated over favorite daughter State Senator Betty Little. Tedisco leads in populous Saratoga and Rensselaer counties, as well as in the southern parts of the district.
I asked Tedisco yesterday about the poll Murphy's campaign released and whether he felt like he was an underdog. He said that the election was going to be "a tight race."
"This race is not Gerry Solomon's old district, okay?" Tedisco said, invoking the late arch-conservative who held the seat for decades. "It's been held by another affiliation for a long period of time. Nancy Pelosi is going to work as hard as she possibly can to put her minions in here, to pour millions in here, but I think in the final analysis, the people of this community, the people of Saratoga County, the other nine counties, know my public service history they're going to fight through the distortions."
In other news, David Paterson's approval favorability rating is up to at 41 percent in the district. , better than he's doing statewide. The poll shows Tedisco's approval favorability rating at 49 percent compared to Murphy's 40 percent, but Barack Obama polls at 65 percent approval favorability and Kirsten Gillibrand is at 78 percent.
Correction: I can't do math in the morning, and conflated favorability rating with job approval.