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Poll finds close race for Anthony Weiner's seat in Congress

August 10, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
(Alex Wong / AFP/Getty Images )

Democrats scored a surprise win on Republican turf in a May special congressional election in upstate New York. Now, a new poll suggests the GOP could be closing in on an upset in the race to succeed disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner in New York City.

A Siena Research Institute poll released Wednesday shows Democratic candidate David Weprin with a 48-42 lead over Republican Robert Turner in the 9th District, which includes parts of Queens and Brooklyn. The election is scheduled for Sept. 13, concurrent with the state's primary elections.

Turner's support among Republicans is stronger than Weprin's among Democrats. Turner also holds a narrow advantage among independent voters. But neither Weprin, a state assemblyman, nor Turner, the GOP's 2010 nominee against Weiner, is all that well-known.

"This special election is a wide open race," said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. In what will likely be a low-turnout race and with either candidate unlikely to spend enough on expensive New York television ads, Greenberg said the race will likely come down to strong voter identification and get-out-the-vote efforts.

Democrat Kathy Hochul used building opposition to the controversial Republican plan to reform Medicare to score a surprise win in New York's 26th District earlier this year. The seat had been held by a Republican.

Though the 9th District is not as strongly-Democratic as most of the other New York City-based seats, the poll finds strong support for the party's stance in favor of raising taxes on high-income earners and opposing cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

But 45% of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of President Obama, compared with 69% who view Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo favorably. Weprin recently refused to say whether he would support Obama in his reelection effort, a possible reflection of his diminished standing in the district.

Weiner, who resigned in June after a sexting scandal, was viewed unfavorably by 68% of respondents.

The survey of 501 likely voters was conducted Aug. 3-4 and 7-8, and has a margin of error of 4.4%.

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