A second poll confirms that Kathy Hochul is likely to win the special election tomorrow in NY-26, an upset pickup in a red district in upstate New York. Like the Siena poll, Public Policy Polling finds that Hochul has increased her lead over Jane Corwin even as third-party candidate Jack Davis drops off. In the poll, Hochul leads Corwin 42-36, with Davis at 13%. PPP doesn’t say Hochul will definitely win, but they conclude that “the fact that we’re even talking about this race is a reflection of how far out of favor the new GOP House majority already is with the voting public.”

But the biggest indicator that Corwin will lose this race is her deathbed conversion away from the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare.

Two days before a special congressional election, a Republican House candidate unexpectedly trailing in the polls is explaining to voters that she does not want to destroy Medicare.

By the political axiom that “when you’re explaining, you’re losing,” Jane Corwin is losing.

The assemblywoman’s big event Sunday was a “Press Conference On Protecting and Preserving Medicare” at the Latta Road Nursing Home here [...]

She calls Ryan’s plan “a terrific first step” but makes clear that she will never support controversial vouchers for Medicare.

“It’s starting a conversation that we absolutely have to have, but I’m not married to it,” she said. “I certainly would entertain any proposals that would improve any of these programs. … I’ve been saying the same thing since Day One.”

She tried to make the argument that Ryan’s plan doesn’t include vouchers, when that’s basically all it includes. But it’s clear that Corwin didn’t want to be associated with the House budget, and that Hochul has done an effective job of tarring her with it.

And Corwin didn’t even vote for the plan, like 235 House Republicans did. She merely endorsed it, and she’s getting pummeled. Senate Republicans who haven’t voted for it have gotten the message. Scott Brown just announced he would vote against it, after previously saying “thank God” for Paul Ryan and his budget.

This was all known beforehand. Pollsters told Ryan and the House GOP that their budget was a political disaster waiting to happen. They passed it anyway.

No matter how favorably pollsters with the Tarrance Group or other firms spun the bill in their pitch — casting it as the only path to saving the beloved health entitlement for seniors — the Ryan budget’s approval rating barely budged above the high 30s or its disapproval below 50 percent, according to a Republican operative familiar with the presentation.

The poll numbers on the plan were so toxic — nearly as bad as those of President Barack Obama’s health reform bill at the nadir of its unpopularity — that staffers with the National Republican Congressional Committee warned leadership, “You might not want to go there” in a series of tense pre-vote meetings.

But go there Republicans did, en masse and with rhetorical gusto — transforming the political landscape for 2012, giving Democrats a new shot at life and forcing the GOP to suddenly shift from offense to defense [...]

“I couldn’t believe these idiots — I don’t know what else to call them — they’re idiots. … They actually made their members vote on it. It was completely stunning to me,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat who worked hard to win over the western part of his state, which has among the highest concentration of elderly voters in the country.

I don’t know what else you can call a party who decides to alienate seniors, the only demographic moving in their direction.

…if you read the Politico article, you see that the indications are that John Boehner got forced into the Medicare privatization plan to save his Speakership. His stature in the institution trumped the stature of the institution.