Republican John Faso and Democrat Zephyr Teachout have expanded their leads against their congressional primary opponents in the 19th Congressional District, according to a new poll by Siena Research Institute and Time Warner Cable News.
But Republican candidate Andrew Heaney says releasing poll results so close to the primary day a “grave disservice” to the voters of the district and criticized Siena’s conclusions in past polls.
The poll, conducted from June 19-22, shows Teachout leading Democrat Will Yandik by 39 points, 62-23 percent, and Faso beating Heaney by 30 points, 58-28 percent. The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points for the Republican poll and 4 percentage points for the Democratic side.
All four candidates are looking to fill the open seat Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who’s not running four a fourth term in Congress. Gibson has made no endorsement in the race.
The 11-county 19th district includes all of Ulster and Sullivan counties. The new poll shows Teachout has expanded her lead nine percentage points and Faso eight percentage points since Siena and TWC did their last poll three weeks ago.
Siena spokesman Steven Greenberg said Teachout’s lead against Yandik is especially high in our region.
“Teachout leads by 50 points in Dutchess and Ulster counties, where nearly half of expected Democratic primary voters are expected to come from, and by more than 20 points in the remainder of the district. She leads by 48 points among self-described liberals – two-thirds of expected voters – and 17 points among moderates,” Greenberg said. “Yandik has not made up ground with any demographic group in the last three weeks.”
Meanwhile Faso’s lead in Ulster and Dutchess counties, which were within four percentage points three weeks ago, has also expanded, Greenberg says.
“Faso leads by more than 40 points in the counties closest to the capital region, which are expected to produce more Republican votes than any other region, and more than 30 points in the southern portion of the district. Heaney had been within four points of Faso in Dutchess and Ulster Counties, although now Faso leads there by 17 points,” Greenberg said. “Among moderate Republicans, Faso leads by 22 points, however, he leads by 35 points with conservatives, who account for nearly two-thirds of the electorate.”
Greenberg said the polls seem to show Teachout and Faso going head to head in November, though with an asterisk.
“While Faso and Teachout appear to be headed to a November showdown, low turnout elections – like late June congressional primaries – are generally won by the campaigns that do a better job of identifying their supporters and ensuring that their supporters actually cast votes,” Greenberg said. “That said, Heaney and Yandik have huge hurdles to overcome if they are to pull off come from behind upset victories.”
Heaney, in a response to the poll in a press release, said the “only poll that matters is on Election Day.” But he also slammed Siena and Time Warner Cable News, saying their polls have been “wildly inaccurate” before.
“Releasing the Time Warner sponsored Siena poll, literally a day before an election, is in a word irresponsible and a grave disservice to the voters of the 19th Congressional District,” Heaney said.
He went on to point out races where Siena has missed the mark in the past.
“There is no precedent, zero history for a poll in this new 19th Congressional district especially at this time of year. Moreover, Siena polls have a notable and recent poor track record predicting outcomes in low turnout elections. Siena polling was wildly inaccurate in races such as in the the recent Senate race in Long Island and the Rochester mayor’s race. In Rochester, just 48 hours before the election Siena gave Tom Richards a huge 36-point lead, 63-27, over Lovely Warren, instead, Warren beat Richards handily, 58-41 percent. In the Long Island special election to replace Senator Dean Skelos, a Siena poll found Republican Jack McGrath leading democrat Todd Kaminsky 51 percent to 43 percent. Kaminsky would win the race just a few days later.
Greenberg defended Siena’s methodology.
“Sometimes, campaigns behind in polls focus on attacking the pollster rather than trying to win votes,” Greenberg said. “That’s their right, even if they’re wrong. We stand by our record, which has earned us one of the top ratings among all pollsters from 538.com.”