Sunday, November 2, 2014
Loudonville, NY. Three first-term State Senate Democrats, elected in a presidential election year – when turnout tends to favor Democrats – are now facing voters in a gubernatorial year, where Republicans traditionally outperform their enrollment. The Siena College poll looks at these three races.
41st SD – Dutchess and Putnam Counties – Terry Gipson (Incumbent) – D/WFP vs. Susan Serino – R/C/I
Incumbent Democrat Terry Gipson has closed a 12-point deficit against Republican challenger Susan Serino to two points. Serino has support from 48 percent of likely voters and Gipson has 46 percent support, with five percent still undecided, according to a new Siena College poll of likely voters in the 41st S.D. Serino previously led the race 52-40 percent. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino are running neck-and-neck, 43-42 percent, with 11 percent for Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.
“Gipson, who won two years ago with 44 percent of the vote in a three-way race, has virtually eliminated Serino’s lead and the two are now locked in a near even race,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. “Serino continues to hold more than three-quarters of Republicans, however Gipson’s Democratic support increased from 72 percent to 82 percent and cut Serino’s lead with independents from 26 points to nine points.”
“Serino leads by 22 points with men, up from 17 points. Gipson leads with women by 17 points, after trailing by seven points,” Greenberg said. “She leads by 26 points in the tiny Putnam portion of the district, up from 17 points, however, Gipson noses ahead, 47-46 percent in Dutchess, after having trailed there by 11 points.
“Both candidates have identical 45-43 percent favorability ratings. Both are viewed favorably by large majorities of their party’s voters, unfavorably by large majorities of the opposing party, and independents give each a virtually evenly divided favorability rating,” Greenberg said.
“Neither candidate has crossed over the magic 50-percent mark. They have identical favorability ratings. Both are incredibly strong with voters of their own party, in this district that is closely divided between Democrats and Republicans,” Greenberg said. “It looks like this race will come down to which campaign can do a better job of getting their voters to the polls on Tuesday. And it may be a late night before the outcome here is clear.”
46th SD – Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady, and Ulster Counties – Cecilia Tkaczyk (Incumbent) – D/WFP vs. George Amedore – R/C/I
In a rematch of the closest State Senate election from 2012, Republican challenger George Amedore continues to have a double digit lead over incumbent Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk. With little movement over the last four weeks, Amedore leads Tkaczyk 54-43 percent, barely changed from the 52-42 percent lead he previously had, according to a new Siena College poll of likely voters in the 46th Senate District, covering all or parts of five counties, from Montgomery down to Ulster. Astorino leads Cuomo 46-38 percent, with 12 percent for Hawkins.
“Amedore continues to have the support of 80 percent of Republicans, he’s grown his support among Democrats from 15 percent to now 25 percent, and he continues to have a strong lead with independents,” Greenberg said. “Tkaczyk continues to run virtually even in the Ulster/Greene portion of the district and continues to trail badly, now by 20 points, in the Albany/Montgomery/Schenectady portion of the district.
“There is virtually no gender gap in this race between a Democratic woman and a Republican man, as Amedore leads with men by 14 points and he leads with women by nine points,” Greenberg said.
“Amedore continues to have a strong favorability rating, 54-35 percent, only down net six points from 53-28 percent, Tkaczyk’s favorability rating has taken a bigger hit. She has a negative 42-46 percent favorability rating, down from a positive 44-34 percent previously,” Greenberg said. “Amedore has more Democrats viewing him favorably than Tkaczyk has Republicans, and is viewed strongly favorably by independents, who view Tkaczyk strongly unfavorably.
“Tkaczyk has a lot of ground to make up and very little time to do it. She will have no help at the top of the ticket, since Governor Andrew Cuomo only has the support of 38 percent of likely voters here,” Greenberg said. “Amedore has a decided edge, even though this district has slightly more Democrats than Republicans. He is viewed significantly more favorably than she is, and he is not seen by voters as running the more negative campaign. With most voters saying they are certain of their choice and very few undecided voters, Amedore’s path to victory seems far less bumpy than Tkaczyk’s.”
55th SD – Monroe and Ontario Counties – Ted O’Brien (Incumbent) – D/WFP vs. Rich Funke – R/C/I
Democratic Ted O’Brien has significantly closed the gap against Republican challenger Rich Funke, however, Funke takes a nine-point, 51-42 percent, lead in to the closing days of the campaign, according to a new Siena College poll of likely voters in the 55th Senate District, covering parts of Monroe and Ontario Counties. Funke had previously led 57-32 percent. Cuomo leads Astorino 45-39 percent, with 10 percent for Hawkins.
“O’Brien has mounted a major charge and has cut his deficit from a seemingly insurmountable 25 points to single digits. He has done so by bringing Democrats home and wooing independents,” Greenberg said.
“While Funke continues to have a commanding lead with Republicans, now 79 points, up from 74 points, O’Brien has strongly improved his standing with Democrats, increasing his lead with them from 33 to 54 points. O’Brien also nearly eliminated Funke’s lead with independents, who now support Funke 45-41 percent, having previously given Funke 63-26 percent support.”
“O’Brien has cut his deficit with men from 23 to seven points, and with women from 26 to 10 points,” Greenberg said. “Funke’s lead comes from the southern part of the district, where he leads by 16 points, as the two run virtually even in the northern portion of the district.
“Funke continues to have a far stronger favorability rating than O’Brien, although 39 percent of voters now view him unfavorably, up from 23 percent previously. However, while 57 percent view Funke favorably, only 44 percent view O’Brien favorably, and 48 percent view him unfavorably,” Greenberg said.
“Although still very much an uphill battle with only days to go, O’Brien has shown momentum in closing the gap and putting this race back into the ‘must watch’ column. A political novice, Funke came into the race with a significant celebrity status, stronger name recognition and he was viewed far more favorably,” Greenberg said. “In this district with a small Democratic enrollment edge, O’Brien will need to bring even more Democrats home to his candidacy and get them to the polls if he’s to close the gap even more. Funke needs to turn out his Republicans and hope that the clock runs out before O’Brien can turn the race upside down.”
These SRI State Senate surveys were conducted by telephone calls to likely voters in each State Senate district. For the 41st S.D. – conducted from October 28-30, 2014 – 488 voters were included in the sample, with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. For the 46th S.D. – conducted from October 28-30, 2014 – 478 voters were included in the sample, with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points. For the 55th S.D. – conducted from October 29-30, 2014 – 487 voters were included in the sample, with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. For each survey, a likely voter screen was applied to a representative sample of registered voters then weighted by age, gender and historical party turnout. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, please call Steven Greenberg at 518-469-9858. Cross-tabulations and frequencies can be found at: www.Siena.edu/SRI/SNY.