U.S. Representative Bill Owens’ lead has remained steady against challenger Matt Doheny going into the final two months of the 21st Congressional District race, according to a poll released Sept. 10 by Siena College Research Institute.
Owens, a Democrat, leads Doheny, a Republican, by 13 points, 49-36 percent, with six percent for Green Party candidate Donald Hassig and eight percent undecided, the poll showed.
In August, a poll by Anzalone Liszt Research, a Democratic political research and polling firm, had Owens with a 12-point lead over Doheny.
Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said the new poll shows Owens is entering the final eight weeks of this electoral rematch “in a very strong position. Half of likely voters say they are prepared to re-elect Owens, compared with only 30 percent who say they would prefer someone else.”
A spokesman for Owens’ campaign said of the poll, “We’ll continue listening to voters and focusing on working across the aisle for common sense job creation solutions. After all, the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day.”
Doheny’s campaign called the Siena poll a snapshot in time. “Siena was in the field during the Democratic National Convention, so it’s laughable to think three nights of wall-to-wall television coverage didn’t have a bearing on these numbers. And despite that coverage being overwhelmingly pro-Democrat at all times, my opponent still cannot manage to crack 50 percent,” according to a news release from the campaign.
Siena conducted the poll Sept. 4-6 by telephone calls to 638 likely voters. The sample of registered voters had been statistically adjusted to reflect party registration, gender and age. It has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.9 percentage points.
Owens, D-Plattsburgh, currently represents the 23rd Congressional District. He and Doheny faced each other in 2010, with Doheny losing by 2,000 votes. Doheny said if he had the Conservative Party line, which belonged at the time to Doug Hoffman, he would have beaten Owens.
This time around, Doheny has the Conservative, Republican and Independence Party lines. Owens has the Democratic and Working Families Line. Hassig has the Green Party line only. The new boundaries of the 21st district, which spans the northern part of the state, including the Adirondack Park, take effect Jan. 1.
In the Siena poll, likely voters see Owens doing a better job than Doheny representing them on six issues: health care, education, jobs, taxes, the federal budget deficit and the war in Afghanistan. Owens led Doherty by margins of seven to 18 points on these issues within the newly redrawn district that has a 15-point Republican enrollment edge.
The poll found Doheny has a 60-26 percent lead among Republicans and that Owens has 76-11 percent lead among Democrats. Among independent voters, Owens has a better than two-to-one lead, 54-24 percent and that Owens leads by nearly two-to-one in the western portion of the district. He leads by 22 points in the northern/central portion of the district. Doheny has a slim 41-37 percent lead in the area closest to the capital.