Saratoga County

Murphy narrows gap to 4 points in latest poll

A Siena Research Institute poll released today shows Republican James Tedisco only four percentage p

Democrat Scott Murphy has cut Republican James Tedisco’s lead to just four percentage points in the last two weeks, according to a Siena Research Institute poll released today.

The new poll has Tedisco leading Murphy 45-41 percent in the race to fill the open 20th Congressional District seat.

The institute sampled 712 likely voters in the district by phone on Monday and Tuesday. The poll’s margin of error is 3.7 percentage points.

Voters polled rated Tedisco better on four issues — homeland security, health care, education and bringing more federal money into the district. Murphy was seen as stronger on the economy and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two weeks ago, Tedisco was rated better on all six of those issues.

Siena’s poll two weeks ago showed Tedisco leading by 12 points — with 46 percent to Murphy’s 34.

In the time since then, more undecided voters seem to have made up their minds for Murphy as campaign ads hit the airwaves. The Glens Falls businessman was previously largely unknown in the district, unlike Tedisco, who as the vocal Assembly minority leader was frequently on TV opposing state Democratic leaders.

While 20 percent of voters were undecided two weeks ago, only 13 percent are undecided now.

“Both candidates have become more known to voters over the last few weeks, as airwaves have been inundated with commercials and mailboxes have been filled with messages from both campaigns,” said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena poll.

Murphy also picked up points from independent voters since the last poll was taken.

While Republican voters were more likely to favor Tedisco and Democrats overwhelmingly liked Murphy, independents now appear to favor Murphy.

In the Feb. 26 survey, Tedisco was 14 points ahead among independent voters. This week, Murphy leads by 6 points among independents.

Voters in the northern part of the district, where Murphy lives, favored him by a whopping 25 points over Tedisco. In Rensselaer and Saratoga counties, where voters are perhaps most likely to know Tedisco from his work in the Assembly, they favored him by 16 points.

Tedisco was 7 points ahead in the southern portion of the district.

Libertarian Eric Sundwall of Columbia County took 1 percent of the vote in today’s poll.

The independent poll was released one day after a poll sponsored by a national Democrat group showed Murphy behind Tedisco by 7 points. That poll was conducted in late February with a smaller sample and larger margin of error than the Siena poll.

The Benenson Strategy Group did that poll for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

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