Heading into the final days of the special election for New York’s 9th Congressional District seat, Republican Robert Turner has taken a 50-44 percent lead over Democrat David Weprin, according to a Siena (College) Research Institute poll of likely 9th CD voters released today. In Siena College’s previous poll on August 10th Weprin had led Turner 48-42 percent.
Turner is viewed favorably by 48 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 34 percent, while Weprin has a 41-41 percent favorability rating. By a 43-32 percent margin, likely voters say Turner is running the more positive campaign, and by a similar 39-30 percent margin, they say Weprin’s is the more negative campaign.
Turner ran for this seat last year, and didn’t do terribly, so he had a built-in advantage on name ID. Weprin only takes 63% of Democrats, while Turner has 90% of Republicans. And Turner leads among independents by an astronomical 65-27. Barack Obama has a 43% approval in the district, and Turner has successfully turned the race into a referendum on him.
In the long term, this is an irrelevant race. NY-09 won’t exist after redistricting, especially if a Republican wins. New York lost two seats in reapportionment, and the likelihood is that one will come from downstate and one from upstate. Turner will start his Congressional career, if he wins, as a lame duck.
In the short term, this is pretty devastating, and a lagging indicator of the damage done by the debt limit deal. Democrats are seen as the incumbent here, and the anti-incumbent sentiment along with Weprin’s poor campaign could seal the deal. National Democrats are trying a late ad surge, including from the House Majority Super PAC, but there’s a lot of ground to make up. Obviously, the pivot to jobs, the message of the American Jobs Act, will be muddled next week by a loss in a safe Democratic seat, if this result holds.
The final point here is why the House Democratic leadership was so quick to force out Anthony Weiner, given this potential result. It looks rash in retrospect.