Rep. Anthony Weiner leaves the news conference in Brooklyn at which he announced… (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles…)
The Republican candidate has taken a surprising six-point lead over the Democrat in the closely watched special election to fill the congressional seat vacated by Anthony Weiner, who was forced to quit amid a sexting scandal, according to a Siena (College) Research Institute poll released on Friday.
Republican Robert Turner is ahead of Democrat David Weprin, 50% to 44%, in the latest survey of likely voters in the congressional district that covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens. In an Aug. 10 poll, Siena found that Weprin led Turner 48% to 42%.
The latest poll confirms fears in some Democratic circles that the party could lose the seat, once considered safely the Democratic column. The seat was formally held by Sen. Charles Schumer, who gave it up to run for the Senate. Weiner, a former aide to Schumer, held the seat from January 1999 to January of this year when he forced to resign after admitting he used the Internet to transmit salacious pictures of himself to women.
Weprin, a New York state assemblyman, was considered the likely winner in the district where Democrats have an enrollment edge. But Democrats have become increasingly concerned and have launched an extensive television buy in the district before Tuesday's special election.
One of the key issues in the race was the endorsement by former Mayor Ed Koch , a Democrat, of the Republican Turner, a move designed to send a message to the Obama administration about its policy toward Israel.
"With four days to go until election day, this race is going down to the wire," Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a prepared statement. "While Turner leads and has momentum on his side, this is still a heavily Democratic district and in a low turnout special election, the campaigns’ get-out-the-vote operations are going to be key. There’s still a lot of campaigning yet to happen."
The poll, conducted by telephone, was of 886 likely voters drawn from 1,543 registered active voter households, the institute said. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.