The race in the newly created Capital Region state Senate district will likely go down to the wire, according to a Siena Research Institute poll released on Friday.
Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, got 47 percent of the vote and Duanesburg Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk got 44 percent in the poll for the 46th Senate District, which includes parts of Montgomery, Schenectady, Albany, Greene and Ulster counties. There is still 9 percent of the vote up for grabs and 11 percent of voters say they could still change their minds.
Both campaigns said the results indicated their message was resonating with voters and that they would emerge victorious on Election Day.
“The race, in this newly created Senate district that was seen by many pundits as a seat drawn for Assemblyman Amedore, is too close to call,” Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said in a statement.
Amedore’s narrow lead appears to be on the backs of independent voters, among whom he has a 6 percentage point lead. Among members of their own party, Amedore is also doing slightly better that Tkaczyk, as 80 percent of Republicans back him and only 75 percent of Democrats back her.
Tkaczyk’s strength is in the southern portion of the new district, where she has a 7 point lead. Amedore is cruising in the Capital Region, which he currently represents, with a 13 point lead.
Aside from a slim Democratic enrollment advantage in the district, Tkaczyk also benefits from having won an election there — a three-way Democratic primary in September.
“Now it all comes down to which candidate can better attract the few undecided voters and which campaign does a better job of getting their voters to the polls on Tuesday. As we move from the air war to the ground game, this race appears to be wide open,” Greenberg concluded.
The outcome of this race will be critical in determining what party will emerge with control of the Senate, which has a slim Republican majority now.
Also released Friday was a poll for the 43rd Senate District, which showed a strong base of support for non-campaigning incumbent Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, who lost his party’s primary in September. Even after being reminded by the poll taker that McDonald is not actively campaigning on the Independence line, 29 percent of respondents supported him, which is 4 percentage points more than Democrat Robin Andrews got. Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione led both with 40 percent support.
A poll conducted by an outside advocacy group after McDonald’s loss in the Republican primary indicated that a three-way race would be competitive, if not very winnable for the incumbent.
In response to this poll, Greenberg said it inspires a lot of “what if” questions. “But the real question,” he said, “four days before Election Day, is: Will more than a quarter of the voters actually vote for a candidate who has said he is not seeking to win?”
It’s not clear how solid McDonald’s support is, though, as only 55 percent of his supporters were certain they would back him on Election Day.
Andrews made a play for those voters Friday, contending that her support of marriage equality and independent streak make her a good alternative. Marchione campaign spokesman Ken Girardin said her platforms on property taxes and job creation would likely win over McDonald supporters on Election Day.
In picking their candidate, 40 percent said same-sex marriage was a very important issue and 26 percent said the issue was somewhat important to them. Neither Marchione nor Andrews has publicly made a big deal about this issue in the wake of the primary.
Breakdowns of polling data from each race, including the polls, are available at the Capital Region Scene at www.dailygazette.com.