A new Siena poll today gives incumbent Democrat Bill Owens a narrow 40-37 lead over Republican Matt Doheny with 8 percent undecided.
Complicating matters is the fact that Conservative Party favorite Doug Hoffman remains on the ballot and garners 15 percent of the vote, even though he has dropped out of the race.
“Will voters know or won’t they know that Hoffman has suspended his campaign? That question will determine how many votes are siphoned away on the Conservative Party line from the two major party candidates,” says Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said. “Either way, it appears likely that Hoffman will get enough votes to ensure that either Owens or Doheny will be elected with the support of less than 50 percent of the voters.”
The seat had been in Republican hands since the time of the Civil War. Ownes won a special election last year when President Obama appointed the incumbent congressman John McHugh Secretary of the Army.
Ownes mainly won then because Hoffman rallied the Tea Party base against the Republican favorite, moderate Dede Scozzafava. National Republicans had assumed this seat would revert back to their column, but those plans grew complicated when Hoffman lost the Republican primary and then refused to back Doheny