Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

GOP Gains In House Significant

Posted Nov 02, 2010 at 1:10 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Early numbers and exit poll analysis suggest a substantial GOP pick up in the US House--between 55 and 60 seats now possible, if not likely. It now appears almost certain that the Democrats will loose control of the House.

Will GOP Retirements Boost Democrats' Chances in 2010?

Posted Jan 05, 2010 at 1:38 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A spate of GOP retirements in the US House of Representatves may well stem any gains made by the GOP this November. While conventional wisdom foresees formidable GOP gains in this House this November, the spate of recent Republican retirements--now at a whopping 14--representatives, "could curtail the expected GOP gains in the House in November," according to an analysis by Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post: "While much of the focus for the last month (or so) has been on Democrats' retirement problems -- set off by a quartet of announcements in swing and Republican-leaning districts over the last month -- a broad look at the open seat playing field suggests more parity in terms of the two parties' opportunities and vulnerabilities than conventional wisdom suggests."

Generic Congressional Ballot: Who's Really Ahead?

Posted Nov 12, 2009 at 1:10 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With the full House up for election next year, who's really ahead in terms of political support. The Congressional Generic ballot, which measures general support for the two major parties in these races, offers a snapshot of voter sentiment. Yet, given dramatic differences in likely voter models, three major polling organizations come out with startlingly different results. For the first time in months, for example, Republicans have moved ahead of Democrats by 48% to 44% among registered voters in the latest update on Gallup's generic congressional ballot for the 2010 House elections, after trailing by six points in July and two points last month. Two other pollsters also weigh in, with contradictory results:

  CNN/Opinion Research Democrats 50, Republicans 44 Democrats +6
Rasmussen Reports Democrats 38, Republicans 42

 

Republicans +4

 

Special Congressional Elections Not Kind To The GOP

Posted Nov 10, 2009 at 1:33 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Special elections for vacated congressional seats in recent years have not been kind to the Republican Party. According to Politico "lost amid the Republican euphoria surrounding Tuesday's elections is this inconvenient fact: The GOP just got its clock cleaned, again, in another high-stakes House special election . . . It shouldn't have come as a surprise, since Republicans have lost 20 of the past 29 House special elections, dating back to January 2003. And in perhaps the most worrisome aspect of the trend, the GOP lost its fifth consecutive competitive special election in Republican-friendly territory."

NY-23: Political Realigniment or Fluke?

Posted Nov 09, 2009 at 1:04 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Last Tuesday's special election in New York's 23rd congressional district was dramatic in in terms of its result: no Democrat has held this seat in over a century. So, does the result suggest a permanent realignment or a fluke in the district? The answer is unclear at this point. As Stuart Rothenberg suggests, a divided Republican party--fraught with in-fighting--may well have handed the seat to the Democrat in a largely GOP district: "Bill Owens' victory in New York's 23rd was the good news for Democrats this week and continued the party's winning streak in competitive House special elections. But the dynamic that helped Owens win- including a divided Republican Party- can't be ignored and aren't likely to be replicated again. For now, his reelection next year is a pure toss-up." Still, PollTrack wonders if the party's internal squabbles will cause it to lose more seats next year, as ultra-conservative attempts to knock off Republican moderates in the primaries results in unelectable GOP contenders in the general election.

Polling Highly Inaccurate in NY-23

Posted Nov 05, 2009 at 12:26 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Polls in NY-23 were highly inaccurate, in the end, for three reasons: [1] congressional districts are very difficult to sample, with too small a population to get a readable and representative sample. [2] the race was highly volatile [3] one candidate dropped out, thus making it almost impossible to gauge where here supporters would ultimately wind up over such a short time period. The polling director of Public Policy Polling, which was way off in its numbers in the district, writes: ""I made a poor judgment call by not just killing it when Scozzafava dropped out and then endorsed Owens. Like any pollster we will make mistakes, we will just try not to make the same ones twice. Obviously the bizarre machinations in the race last weekend made it extremely volatile and if we ever a poll a race this strange again we will make better decisions (or maybe make the most prudent decision to just sit such a contest out!) But I apologize for putting bad information out there, it is very embarrassing."

NY-23: Democrat Owens Projected Winner

Posted Nov 03, 2009 at 3:58 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Democrat Bill Owens has been projected the winner in the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district.

NY-23: Close, With Democrat Leading

Posted Nov 03, 2009 at 2:51 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With 63% of precincts reporting in the special election in New York's 23rd Congresional District, Democrat Bill Owens leads, but the race remains close:

 

Scozzafava (r) 5%

Owens (d) 49.3%

Hoffman (I) 45.5%

LIVE BLOG 7:00 PM EST TONIGHT Tuesday, 3 November

Posted Nov 02, 2009 at 3:44 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

PollTrack will be blogging live tonight, Election Night, tracking and interpreting results starting at 7:00 PM EST. So check in and stick with us for continuous coverage of the gubernatorial races in Virginia and, New Jersey,mayoral race in New York City, special election in NY-23, and the Maine "Gay Marriage" initiative and other races.

PollTrack FINAL Polling Average: A Summation

Posted Nov 02, 2009 at 11:16 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Here is a brief summary of PollTrack's FINAL polling averages for five key races in tomorrow's Off-Year Election:

 

Maine Gay Marriage Referendum

Lead: FOR gay marriage--+2.7%

 

New Jersey Governor

Lead: Republican Chris Christie--+0.5%

 

Virginia Governor

Lead: Republican Bob McDonnell--+14.4%

 

NY-23 Special Election

Lead: Conservative Doug Hoffman--+8.0%


New York City Mayor

Lead: Independent Michael Bloomberg--+12.7%

 

 

No New Results For NYC Mayoralty and NY-23

Posted Nov 02, 2009 at 9:57 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

PollTrack has received no new polling for the New York City mayoral race or the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district. As a result, this mornings averages now stand as final. Please refer below for these races.

NY-23: Final Poll Average Shows Conservative Hoffman Ahead Of Democrat Owens

Posted Nov 02, 2009 at 1:42 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

PollTrack's FINAL average of polling in New York's 23rd Congressional District for 2009 special election:

 

Bill Owens (D): 35.0%

Doug Hoffman (I-Conservative): 43.0%

Dede Scozzafava (R): 8.0%

 

Lead: Conservative Doug Hoffman--+8.0%

 

NY-23: Could The Democrat Still Win?

Posted Nov 01, 2009 at 2:37 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With Republican Dede Scozzafava pulling out of the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district, many observers have jumped to the conclusion that most of her voters will jump to Conservative Party candidate (and recipient of many GOP endorsements over the past few weeks) Doug Hoffman. PollTrack is joining a number of commentators over the past 24 hours in saying: not so fast. In examining the cross tabs in the most recent Siena Institute poll of the district, one thing is clear: Scozzafava supporters are often as moderate--or even more so--than the candidate herself.

Among her supporters, president Obama enjoys considerable support, and Hoffman's favorable rating remains low. So where will these voters go this coming Tuesday: some with vote for Scozzafava anyway. Some will move over to Hoffman out of party loyalty (the national and local GOP have now endorsed him). And some will undoubtedly vote for Democrat Bill Owens. The outcome may well be a squeaker between the Democrat and Conservative Party candidates. PollTrack is trolling around for any polling in the district over the next 48 hours. So stay tuned.

NY-23: Conservative Candidate Appears To Best Democratic + GOP Candidates

Posted Oct 30, 2009 at 6:29 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

PollTrack's average of polling in New York's 23rd Congressional District for 2009 special election:

 

Bill Owens (D): 29.6%

Doug Hoffman (I-Conservative): 32.3%

Dede Scozzafava (R): 18.3%

 

Lead: Conservative Doug Hoffman--+2.7%

NY-23: Who IS In The Leads In Traditionally Republican District?

Posted Oct 29, 2009 at 1:53 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

One recent poll in the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District, suggests that the Democrat still leads in the traditionally Republican stronghold. According to the Daily Kos (in conjunction with Research 2000), Democrat Bill Owens leads the three-way contest with 35% of the vote, Republican Dede Scozzafava has 30% and Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman is at 23%. The dymamics of this race appear to be fairly obvious: with the moderate Republican and Conservative party candidate splitting the GOP vote, the Democrat squeaks through. Or are they, two polls sponsored by the GOP in the district suggests that the GOP candidate's relatively liberal views--on abortion and gay marriage, for example--have put her in the position of splitting the vote with moderate Democrat Owens. The result: both polls show Hoffman in the lead, their combined aggregate number by +4.5%. Stay tuned.

NY-23: Is The GOP Candidate Collapsing?

Posted Oct 16, 2009 at 1:44 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Siena College Research Institute reports that the GOP candidate in the upcoming special election in New York's staunchly Republican 13th district may be in trouble: "In the last two weeks, Democrat Bill Owens has turned a seven-point deficit into a four-point lead over Republican Assembly Member Dede Scozzafava. Owens has the support of 33 percent of likely voters in the 23rd Congressional District, followed by Scozzafava at 29 percent and Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman at 23 percent, up seven points in the last two weeks . . . Owens leads with Democrats and in the eastern portion of the district. Scozzafava leads with Republicans and in the western portion of the district. Hoffman leads with independent voters and in the southern portion of the district. About two-thirds of voters have seen or heard commercials for Scozzafava and Owens, helping Owens and hurting Scozzafava."

The eminent political analyst Charlie Cook provides this reading of the race on his website: "It's never a good sign when the blame game commences before the election even takes place. But that's exactly what's happening in GOP ranks three weeks before voters go to to the polls in the NY-23 special election, at a time when the party's House prospects are booming just about everywhere else. The twist? The 'conservative Republican' spoiler is actually stealing more votes from independents than Republicans."

Are Democrats in Trouble in 2010?

Posted Sep 03, 2009 at 1:05 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A number of political observers now argue that the Democrats are set to loose a large number of seats in the House of Representatives in next year's mid-term election. As Politico reports, "some of the most prominent and respected handicappers can now envision an election in which Democrats suffer double-digit losses in the House — not enough to provide the 40 seats necessary to return the GOP to power but enough to put them within striking distance. Top political analyst Charlie Cook, in a special August 20 update to subscribers, wrote that “the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and congressional Democrats . . . At the mid-August Netroots Nation convention, Nate Silver [from the popular website, FiveThirtyEight] predicted that Republicans will win between 20 and 50 seats next year. He further alarmed an audience of progressive activists by arguing that the GOP has between a 25 and 33 percent chance of winning back control of the House."

CQ Politics Analysis: Democrats Have Lock On 2010 Congressional Elections

Posted Aug 14, 2009 at 2:35 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to an analysis by CQ Politics, the Democratic Party looks strong in the 2010 Congressional elections: "Democrats have a virtual lock on 198 seats for November 2010, and in another 31 districts the opportunities for a GOP upset are tenuous at best. Put those groups together and you have 229, well above the 218-seat majority threshold. In addition, one district that’s in Republican hands at the moment, which covers most of New Orleans, is expected to return to its Democratic roots next fall." Still, CQ Politics concludes that "Yet House election history alone gives the Republicans reason to hope for better results after the back-to-back setbacks of 2006 and 2008 thrust them deeply into the minority. The 2010 elections for the House will be the first since Barack Obama was elected president. With very rare exceptions over many decades, the party holding the White House has lost seats in the first such midterm election."

2010 Congressional Races: Are Missouri and Ohio Bellwethers?

Posted Aug 11, 2009 at 1:29 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In presential races, Missouri and Ohio have been bellwethers of sorts. But can we say the same of these staes in the 2010 Congressional Election? The answer according to MSNBC First Read is, yes: "Without a doubt, the two biggest Senate battlegrounds next year will be in the Show Me State and Buckeye State, and they’ll give us a good read on the health of the two political parties. If the Democrats lose both, it will suggest that the party’s successes in these states from 2006-2008 -- including gubernatorial and senatorial wins in both states, as well as Obama winning in Ohio and narrowly losing in Missouri -- might have come to an end. But if Republicans lose both -- with well-known figures from Bush years at the top of the ticket (Roy Blunt in Missouri and Rob Portman in Ohio) -- that would suggest that the Bush and GOP brands are still major problems for the party. Bottom line: The best way to judge who "wins" or "loses" the 2010 midterms will be in these two states, pure and simple. And they will be the most dominant races the media will focus on next year."

It's Official: Democrat Murphy Wins NY-2- By 726-Votes

Posted May 14, 2009 at 1:24 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

While not by a landslide by any means, Democrat Scott Murphy has official won the special election in New York's 20th-Congressional District to replace now US Senator kirsten Gillibrand. According to the Albany Times Union, Murphy won his seat in Congress over Jim Tedisco by 726 votes.  The final tally, which the commissioners will meet to certify at a noon meeting in Albany, is 80,833 to 80,107.

Republican Retirements In House Come From Strong GOP Districts

Posted May 05, 2009 at 11:34 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In what can be interpreted as a bit a good news for the Republican Party, CQ Politics reports that while "the partisan skew of the early 2010 open seats might be bad news for the GOP . . . there is some salve for the GOP, though, in its early 2010 cycle open-seat situation. The districts that are being left open by Republican retirees or seekers of other offices are reliably Republican-leaning . . . the nine open Republican districts all voted for McCain and gave him a robust average of 61 percent of the vote." The news is not exactly bad for Democrats: "As for the four Democrats who are not seeking re-election to the House -- all are running for either governor or senator in their home states -- Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama won all of their districts with an average of 71 percent of the vote"

 

$6 Million Spent In NY-20

Posted May 04, 2009 at 1:17 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

How much did it cost Democratic Scott Murphy and his Republican challenger, Jim Tedisco, to battle it out in the recent special election in New York's 20th Congressional district?: $6 million according to a report in CQ Politics: "Murphy, who won the March 31 special House election in upstate New York, and state Rep. Jim Tedisco, his Republican opponent, combined to spend more than $3.8 million on that exceptionally close race. According to campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Murphy raised $2.15 million and Tedisco raised $1.68 million through April 20. They raised those prodigious sums even though the campaign only began in January, after Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand— who had won a second term in the 20th District seat last November — resigned to accept an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat that Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton vacated to become secretary of State. Add to this, the more than $2 million worth of contributions from the respective political parties' congressional committees, and you're talking a good $6 million spent in NY-20. 

Democrat Scott Murphy Wins NY-20

Posted Apr 25, 2009 at 1:25 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With Democrat Scott Murphy leading by 400-votes out of 160,000 votes cast--and several hundred paper ballots yet to be counted--Republican Jim Tedisco called his opponent yesterday afternoon and conceeded the special election to replace former Democratic representative Kirsten Gillibrand in New York's 20th congressional district. Scott Murphy has thus won the closely contested election and will become the next congressman in what has become a classic swing district. A referendum on Obama or the Republican Party? PollTrack believes that the closeness of the election, in a district with a Republican voter registration advantage of 75,000, while not a barometer of the political fortunes of either party, still suggests trouble for the GOP.

NY-20: Democrat Murphy's Lead Grows, Tedisco Expects Defeat

Posted Apr 24, 2009 at 1:39 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

While the tally in the NY-20 Special Election remains close, PollTrack believes that the disposition of the remaining contested absentee ballots--their demographic breakdown--suggest that the Democrat Scott Murphy is headed for victory. As if to underscore this analysis, each new day of counting appears to increase the Democrat's lead:: As of late yesterday, Murphy's lead over Assemblyman Jim Tedisco has grown to 401-votes. According to Politiker NY, "the new tally reflects updated numbers from Warren and Essex counties. Counting is still taking place in Saratoga and Washington counties. Most of Murphy's gain came from Warren County, Democratic Elections Commissioner and Party Chairman Bill Monfort, said. The new overall number reflects a tally from 250 ballots set aside and now counted in the last two days."

Roll Call reports that Tedisco realizes that he has lost the election: "A GOP source on Capitol Hill said Thursday afternoon that Republican Jim Tedisco’s camp has abandoned hope of winning New York’s 20th district special election but that the former state Assembly Minority Leader won’t concede the race to Democrat Scott Murphy until technical legal questions surrounding voter residency issues are resolved.The source said that Tedisco believes the residency issues that came up during absentee vote counting after the March 31 contest could have a bearing on future races in New York. As such, the source said, Tedisco wants to see those issues resolved before ending the legal battle."

NY-20: Court Rules Ballot Counting Will Continue

Posted Apr 23, 2009 at 1:02 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The race remains close and is far frrom over in the special election in New York's 20th congressional district to fill the seat vacated by now US Senator Kristen Gillibrand. According to Politiker NY: "The ballot-counting will likely go on for a long time, in light of a just issued court ruling. Judge James Brands declined to set a specific standard regarding valid residency, and said that objections lodged on the basis of ballot applications will stand. While Democrat Scott Murphy leads Jim Tedisco by 273 votes according to the official tally, there are some 1,800 votes left uncounted. The ruling favors the Tedisco camp--or at least buys them time. Brands [ruled] that applications for absentee ballots were correctly provided to both campaigns, and that objections to ballots lodged based on these applications do stand.  "Common sense dictates that in order to intelligently form a decision as to whether an objection should be made, the application's content must of necessity be perused," Brands wrote."

GOP Says NY-20 To Be Decided In Court

Posted Apr 21, 2009 at 2:21 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Politico reports that the special election in NY-20, now a virtual tie with Democrat Scott Murphy maintaining what may be an insurmountable lead, may wind up being decided by the courts, if the GOP has its way: "As the count begins to wind down, it seems like the GOP is prepared for a protracted court battle, at least by the sound of this internal memo sent this afternoon by a National Republican Congressional Committee staffer:

From: ********** [mailto:********@nrcc.org]
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 12:04 PM
To:
Subject: NY-20 Update

Hi there, I wanted to give you an update on NY-20. As of last night, Tedisco was down by only 86 votes (Official BOE count). This represents a .05% differential between the two campaigns. Seven of the ten counties have completed counting their absentee ballots and all ballot counting should be complete by Friday. 6,200 absentee ballots have been counted so far with approximately 570 remaining. Approximately, 1,550 absentee ballots have been challenged by attorneys for either the Tedisco or Murphy campaigns. These ballots are not included in the overall numbers. The election will most likely be decided in the courts."

NY-20: Democrat Scott Murphy Leads By 273-Votes

Posted Apr 17, 2009 at 7:36 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

At this point in the counting of ballots in the special congressional election in NY-20, Democrat Scott Murphy has a 273-vote lead over Republican Jim Tedisco. PollTrack believes that this advantage will be enough to secure victory for the Democrat. The Republican Party, however, has vowed to take the matter to count. Challenged absentee ballots--numbering over 1,000--will be counted on Monday. Most of these have been challenged by the Republicans, suggesting that there is little change that even if all of these were included in the total, Tedisco could overtake Murphy's lead.

 

Will GOP Retirements Sink Republican's House Chances In 2010

Posted Apr 16, 2009 at 2:10 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A Flood of retiring US House members may spell trouble for the Republican Party. According to Stuart Rothenberg, "House retirements are running a bit ahead of schedule this cycle, at least compared with where they stood in 2005 and 2007. And if they even approach the same numbers as in the past two election cycles, retirements could play a significant part in the eventual 2010 House battleground." Significantly, more Republicans are retiring than Democrats, leading Rothenberg to wonder about GOP prospects in 2010: "The last time more Democrats than Republicans retired was in 1998, when 17 Democrats and 16 Republicans did not seek re-election... Over the past five elections, 106 Republican House Members have not sought re- election, while only 49 Democrats have walked away from their seats -- a significant difference."

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NY-20: Battle Ahead Over Absentee Ballots

Posted Apr 15, 2009 at 2:22 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Minnesota all over again? Politico reports that there is a battle brewing over absentee ballots in the hotly contested--and now virtually tied--NY-20 special election: "Just like in the Minnesota Senate recount, the special election in New York’s Twentieth District looks like it will be determined by disputed absentee ballots. Both campaigns have already challenged the legality of around 600 absentee ballots, which have been pulled aside and not included in the current count. Democrats estimate that the majority of the challenges -- about 60 percent – have come from Republican Jim Tedisco. Indeed, Republicans have been especially aggressive in challenging absentee ballots in Columbia County, which Murphy won on Election Night by more than 1,880 votes. Tedisco has already challenged at least 63 absentee ballots there, and the campaign has flagged around 200 absentee ballots as questionable.Tedisco’s campaign has also challenged several dozen absentees in Dutchess County, another county that backed Murphy. Nearly all of Tedisco’s challenges center on the voters’ residency. Republicans are arguing that voters who establish a primary residence outside the district – and receive tax benefits there – are ineligible to vote in the district. Democrats dispute that interpretation of state election law, and argue that as long as voters are registered at one address, they’re eligible to vote there."

Democrat Murphy Now Leading In Razor-Close NY-20

Posted Apr 13, 2009 at 2:21 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Democrat Scott Murphy has taken the lead over Republican Jim Tedisco in the hotly contested and razor-close congressional race in NY-20. According to the latest tally from the New York State Board of Elections, Murphy leads by 35-votes. One ray of hope fpr Tedisco: the district's largest--and most Republican--county has yet to report the count of its absentee and overseas ballots. Given the 8% lead that Tedisco held in Saratoga County on election night--and the large pool of voters from this area--are these uncounted paper ballots holding a sharp GOP advantage. If Tedisco leads by the same margin in this voter pool--8%--he will undoubtedly take the lead. Stay tuned.

The Latest On NY-20: Republican Tedisco Leads By 17-Votes

Posted Apr 08, 2009 at 1:29 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the New York State Board of Elections, Republican Jim Tedisco Leads Democrat Scott Murphy by 17-votes in the special election to replace congresswoman Kerstin Gillibrand. As of late yesterday, the official tally with most counties now re-canvassed reads as follows:

 

Scott Murphy (D):   77,017

Jim Tedisco (R):     77,034

 

The Albany Times Union reports that counties will begin counting absentee ballots today, despite Tedisco insistence that counting resume only after all of the ballots are in: "Lawyers for Republican Jim Tedisco argued Monday the ballots should not be opened until April 14, the day after the deadline for receipt of all absentee ballots, both overseas military and domestic. Lawyers for Democrat Scott Murphy argued that although the elections commissioners in the 10-county district must wait until April 14 to count military ballots, that is no reason not to start counting the other ballots Wednesday, the day after they are due. Judge James Brands agreed with Murphy's legal team. Brands wrote in his decision: 'While this court agrees with counsel that there should be no rush in this process to the detriment of a fair and accurate account, it occurs to this court that both the candidates and the constituency they serve are entitled to a prompt resolution of this contested election which apparently is in a deadlock with each candidate having the same number of votes.'"

Ny-20: Absentee Ballots Are Hard To Predict

Posted Apr 06, 2009 at 1:39 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Michael Barone, in an excellent analysis of the absentee ballots already received (but still uncounted) in the NY-20 special election, concludes that there are contradictory signs, one pointing to a slight Democratic advantage, the other a slight Republican tilt: "Of those 5,995 votes, 48 percent were cast by registered Republicans, 36 percent were cast by registered Democrats and 16 percent by others. That's a 12 percent Republican advantage, a little less than the 15 percent advantage Republicans have in total party identification. It suggests to me a pretty good Democratic absentee voter drive, since registered Democrats in an Upstate New York district are likelier to be behavioral Democrats than registered Republicans are to be behavioral Republicans. (Reasons: a lot of people register Republican to vote in legislative and local primaries in jurisdictions which are now or have been heavily Republican in general elections; some people may have registered as Republicans years ago out of conviction but lately have been voting Democratic, which is in line with the Democratic trend over the last decade or so in Upstate New York)."

Barone concludes: "Thus this absentee electorate could be a little more Democratic than the voters who voted on election day. However, it's also possible that an effective Republican absentee voter drive targeted those registered Republicans who also indicate that they are behavioral Republicans; if I were setting up an absentee voter drive that's what I'd aim at doing. So this absentee electorate could be a little more Republican than the electorate as a whole. There's no real way to know until the votes are counted."

One factor to consider, as PollTrack observes, is that more absentee ballots were returned from registered Republicans than Democrats. As Tedisco lead inches every so slightly upward in the re-cancassing state, will these votes put him over the top? Or will many of these GOP voters break from their party to vote for Murphy? The outcome of NY-20 ultimately rests on the question of how registered Republicans will break in absentee voting. 

NY-20 Now Tied At 77,225 Votes Each For Tedisco & Murphy

Posted Apr 03, 2009 at 8:58 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Incredibly, with a number of counties yet to re-canvass, the two candidates are now tied: "As counties continue a routine recount of voting machine results, the two candidates in the 20th Congressional District race are locked in a dead heat. James Tedisco and Scott Murphy have 77,225 votes each as of this afternoon, said John Conklin, spokesman for the state Board of Elections. Warren, Rensselaer, Otsego, Dutchess and Delaware counties have finished recanvassing their voting machines, and the updated number reflects their new totals. The other five counties, which includes Saratoga County, have not finished recounting the results, so the total is likely to change in the coming days, Conklin said." PollTrack notes gain that saratoga County--the largest in the district--is also vastly Republican in registration, so it's unclear how its re-canvassing will effect the outcome. Stay tuned.

NY-20: Republican Tedisco Takes The Lead

Posted Apr 02, 2009 at 3:23 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The PolitickerNY.com reports that Democrat Scott Murphy's lead has evaporated. As voting machines are re-canvassed in New York's 20th Congressional District, Republican Jim Tedisco has picked up 37 votes, evaporating Democrat Scott Murphy's lead. Republican Tedisco now leads by 12 votes, 77,236 to 77,224. Yesterday, Tedisco trailed by 25 votes after a recanvass in Columbia County. Elections workers in Rensselaer, Dutchess, Columbia and Otsego counties looked over their tallies today. Other counties will do so in the coming days. A possible problem for Murphy: Saratoga County--the largest in the 20th CD one of the most Republican by registration (Tedisco led by 8% in the county on Election Night) has yet to re-canvass their tallies.

Associated Press: NY-20 Too-Close-To-Call

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 3:08 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

It's official: with 100% of precincts reporting in NY-20, the race is tied at 50% (Democrat Murphy leads by a scant 65 votes) and is Too-Close-To-Call according to the Associated Press. AP reports: "There are at least 6,000 and possibly as many as 10,000 absentee ballots that will not be included in the results for at least a week." Since the Board of Elections has agreed to continue counting overseas absentee ballots until April 13--many of these from active duty military--this race may not be settled for a while.At this point, it is difficult to gauge the effect of these absentee votes. With some coming from military members (lean Republican), other from voters with second homes in New York City (lean Democrat), and still others from elderly residents (lean Republican), it's hard to create a demographic profile for these remaining ballots.


Here's the AP final tally:

County Precincts Scott Murphy
(Dem)
James Tedisco
(GOP)
Total 610/610 77,344
50%
77,279
50%
Columbia 58/58 8,576
56%
6,653
44%
Delaware 49/49 3,344
50%
3,370
50%
Dutchess 72/72 9,569
52%
8,988
48%
Essex 15/15 1,269
55%
1,026
45%
Greene 36/36 4,409
45%
5,460
55%
Otsego 16/16 1,001
49%
1,052
51%
Rensselaer 54/54 7,576
49%
8,035
51%
Saratoga 188/188 25,837
46%
30,247
54%
Warren 70/70 8,680
56%
6,890
44%
Washington 52/52 7,083
56%
5,558
44%

NY-20: It's Ending In A Tie

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 2:26 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With one precinct left, Murphy now leads by 80 votes. This race will need to be decided by absentee ballots.

The AP tally:

 

County Precincts Scott Murphy
(Dem)
James Tedisco
(GOP)
Total 609/610 77,208
50%
77,127
50%
Columbia 58/58 8,576
56%
6,653
44%
Delaware 49/49 3,344
50%
3,370
50%
Dutchess 72/72 9,569
52%
8,988
48%
Essex 15/15 1,269
55%
1,026
45%
Greene 36/36 4,409
45%
5,460
55%
Otsego 16/16 1,001
49%
1,052
51%
Rensselaer 54/54 7,576
49%
8,035
51%
Saratoga 187/188 25,701
46%
30,095
54%
Warren 70/70 8,680
56%
6,890
44%
Washington 52/52 7,083
56%
5,558
44%

NY-20 It Now Looks Like It's Too Close To Call, A Tie In Fact

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 2:14 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With Tedisco's lead actually narrowing in once solidly Republican Saratoga County, it's starting to look like a very close election, one perhaps impossible to call until the 6,000 or so absentee and military ballots are counted. The evening may well end up without a winner.

The latest from AP:

County Precincts Scott Murphy
(Dem)
James Tedisco
(GOP)
Total 591/610 74,221
50%
74,251
50%
Columbia 50/58 7,415
56%
5,804
44%
Delaware 49/49 3,344
50%
3,370
50%
Dutchess 72/72 9,569
52%
8,988
48%
Essex 15/15 1,269
55%
1,026
45%
Greene 36/36 4,409
45%
5,460
55%
Otsego 16/16 1,001
49%
1,052
51%
Rensselaer 54/54 7,576
49%
8,035
51%
Saratoga 177/188 24,127
46%
28,288
54%
Warren 70/70 8,680
56%
6,890
44%
Washington 52/52 6,831
56%
5,338
44%

 

Does Tedisco Have A Hidden Edge?

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 1:59 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Although the vote is now tied, 50% to 50%, PollTrack notes that in the biggest Republican (and largest) county in the 20th--Saratoga--almost 35% of precincts remain uncounted. A number of counties more favorable to Democrat Murphy have reported 100% of their vote. Could this suggest a Tedisco surge as the evening wears on? With more than 40 precincts still out in Saratoga, the Republican may have a hidden advantage.

 

The latest from Associated Press:

 

County Precincts Scott Murphy
(Dem)
James Tedisco
(GOP)
Total 496/610 62,147
50%
63,197
50%
Columbia 20/58 2,544
56%
1,981
44%
Delaware 25/49 1,864
47%
2,091
53%
Dutchess 72/72 9,569
52%
8,988
48%
Essex 11/15 1,269
55%
1,026
45%
Greene 32/36 3,826
44%
4,834
56%
Otsego 16/16 1,001
49%
1,052
51%
Rensselaer 54/54 7,576
49%
8,035
51%
Saratoga 145/188 19,068
45%
23,062
55%
Warren 70/70 8,680
56%
6,890
44%
Washington 51/52 6,750
56%
5,238
44%

NY-20: It Doesn't Get Any Closer

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 1:44 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

As of 9:45 PM, it's a tie:

County Precincts Scott Murphy
(Dem)
James Tedisco
(GOP)
Total 386/610 46,645
50%
46,969
50%
Columbia 20/58 2,544
56%
1,981
44%
Delaware 25/49 1,864
47%
2,091
53%
Dutchess 62/72 8,004
51%
7,549
49%
Essex 5/15 441
58%
321
42%
Greene 29/36 3,349
44%
4,333
56%
Otsego 14/16 888
49%
929
51%
Rensselaer 25/54 3,158
48%
3,376
52%
Saratoga 92/188 11,663
44%
15,009
56%
Warren 70/70 8,680
56%
6,890
44%
Washington 44/52 6,054
57%
4,490
43%

Early Results NY-20: Tedisco Leads But It's Very Close

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 1:28 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Early results from the Associated Press suggest it could be a long night. The results are at this very early stage, very close:

County Precincts Scott Murphy
(Dem)
James Tedisco
(GOP)
Total 125/610 13,358
49%
14,151
51%
Columbia 0/58 0
0%
0
0%
Delaware 0/49 0
0%
0
0%
Dutchess 0/72 0
0%
0
0%
Essex 5/15 441
58%
321
42%
Greene 13/36 1,494
43%
1,982
57%
Otsego 6/16 332
45%
411
55%
Rensselaer 11/54 1,457
48%
1,565
52%
Saratoga 34/188 3,875
42%
5,366
58%
Warren 56/70 5,759
56%
4,506
44%
Washington 0/52 0
0%
0
0%

NY-20: Absentee Ballots Numerous

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 11:30 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Albany Times Union, "those who are hoping to avoid a late night, better hope that the 20th Congressional race has at least a good 6,000 vote margin. As of yesterday, there were 5,907 absentee ballots received by the state Board of Elections, according to spokesman Bob Brehm. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by yesterday, March 30 and received within 7 days (for regular absentee ballots) or 13 days (for military/ overseas ballots)." This could be a long night . . . or not.

NY-20: Associated Press Reporting Light Turnout

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 10:47 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Associated Press is reporting generally light turnout in today's special election to fill the house seat vacated by Kirten Gillibrand's in New York's 20th CD: "Volunteers knocked on doors and surrogates fired off e-mails Tuesday afternoon amid reports of light turnout in a special congressional election focused on President Barack Obama and his economic stimulus plan.Voters who did show up admitted to being exhausted by the torrent of negative ads from Republican Jim Tedisco and Democrat Scott Murphy . . . Polling places and local election boards reported light turnout throughout the day, not unusual in a special election in which there are no statewide offices or big names on the ballot to attract more casual voters." A truly light turnout could be good news in a congressional district with a decided Republican advantage in registration.

NY-20: Turnout High In One Republican County

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 7:53 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Politico reports that the turnout is high in one large Republican county in the 20th Congressinal District, but that the meaning of the upswing may be unclear: "Just finished visiting three precincts in Saratoga County, where turnout is well above expectations. Election officials at the three Saratoga Springs precincts said they expected about 35 percent of registered voters to cast ballots by the time polls close at 9:00 EST. On paper, that’s encouraging news for Republican Jim Tedisco because Saratoga County has traditionally been a Republican stronghold.  Tedisco also represents parts of the county in his statewide Assembly seat. But the voting patterns of the county have changed dramatically in recent years – Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand won 59 percent of the county vote last year, and President Obama carried the county with 51 percent of the vote."

Contradictory Indications In NY-20

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 7:27 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

For what its worth, local observers in Chatham, New York, report on the Legislative Gazette that more Republicans appear to be voting in one representative precinct but that Democrat Scott Murphy edges Republican Jim Tedisco in an informal "exit poll" of 22 voters leaving the voting station. "In Chatham, Columbia County, a part of the 20th, voters seemed to be favoring Murphy over Tedisco, but not by a large margin." The report continues: "Of the 22 voters surveyed in Chatham, 14 people voted for Murphy and eight chose Tedisco" Yet, one poll worker sees an advatange for the Republican: "After poll watching it looks like more Republicans are out." These observations, of course, are informal, unscientific, and contradictory, so PollTrack, for now, takes them with a grain of salt. But report them we must.

Full Coverage of NY-20: Spread The Word

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 5:42 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

PollTrack is one of the few websites offering fresh reporting on today's special election in New York's 20th Congressional District. If you like what you are reading, SPREAD THE WORD. We'll have reports from our political director, Maurice Berger (who is also a part-time resident of the 20th Congressional District) throughout the day--both on our Presidential and Writing on the Wall Blog pages. These reports should satisfy political junkies as well as anyone interested in the NY-20 race, its outcome, and its national implications.

NY-20: Voting Brisk

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 4:01 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

PollTrack has just received several eyewitness reports about voting in today's special election in New York's 20th congressional district. While voting is not heavy, it also appears to be greater than the usual historically low turnout in off-year or special elections. One voter described activity as brisk in her precinct in Upstate Chatham. With millions spent on the race and a cavalcade of publicity and local and national advertising and press, the NY-20 contest may well bring out more voters than the norm. Indeed, the president himself has gotten into the act, attempting to increase turnout, sending supporters a last-minute pitch Monday night. In an e-mail sent out via the Democratic National Committee's Organizing For America grassroots effort, the president urged the party's voters to head to the polls to vote for venture capitalist Scott Murphy. "I need you to go vote . . . It's going to be a very close race, and your vote could make all the difference," he wrote.

 

NY-20: Internal Democratic Poll Shows Murphy Ahead By Two

Posted Mar 29, 2009 at 1:49 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

 

According to The Hill, a new poll by the Democratic National Congressional Committee shows the Democrat Scott Murphy leading Republican Jim Tedisco in the NY-20 special election to fill the house seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand. Democrat Scott Murphy leads Republican state Assemblyman Jim Tedisco by two percentage points. The poll, obtained from a Democratic source, shows Murphy leading Tedisco 43% to 41%. The Hill notes: "DCCC's poll was taken earlier this week, before the Siena College poll released Friday that showed Murphy leading Tedisco by four percentage points, 47% to 43%." An internal Republican National Congressional Committee poll lte last week also showed Murphy leading. Is the momentum with the Democrat? PollTrack thinks it's hard to gauge at this point. The district has a significant advantage in Republican registration, an important factor in special elections that tend to draw only the party faithful. In no poll does Murphy or Tedisco break the 50% mark. And all polls thus far indicate a large undecided bloc. In the end, PollTrack believes the election remains too-close-to-call and that its outcome will likely depend on turnout.

NY-20 Video: Tedisco (r) & Murphy (d) Up Close

Posted Mar 28, 2009 at 2:14 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Democratic and Republican candidates in the race to replace Kirsten Gillibrand in New York's 20th Congressional District sat down with the editorial board of a local newspaper--The Saratogian (Saratoga Springs)--for "roughly an hour each and were asked a variety of questions, ranging from the federal stimulus plan, diversification of the district's economy, ways to reduce property taxes and local budgets, and their views on government and small business." The videos provide a rare opportunity to view the candidates in an intimate setting, casually answering questions of importance to the district. For these videos, click here.

Republican Tedisco Decries Scott Murphy's Opposition To The Death Penalty In A NY-20 Attack Ad

Posted Mar 27, 2009 at 4:06 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The campaign of Republican Jim Tedisco, now behind by four points in the latest survey of voters in the hotly contested NY-20 race, has launched a new attack ad, one that links Democrat Scott Murphy to the tragedy of 9/11 because of his opposition to the death penalty, even in cases of terrorism. Will the ad resonate with voters in a predominantly Republican district or will it backfire? (The Siena Poll released this morning suggests that voters see the Tedisco campaign as the more negative and angry, a view partly responsible for the Republican's net drop of 8% over the past two weeks). Here is the new advertisement:

NY-20 Campaign Ads Hit Airways in Upstate New York

Posted Mar 27, 2009 at 6:15 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Democratic and Republican parties are now running ads in the highly competitive NY-20 race to fill the congressional seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand when she was appointed to replace outgoing NY US Senator and now Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

 

Here are the ads:

 

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE For Scott Murphy:


 

REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN AD for Jim Tedisco:

 

 

 

Democrat Murphy Takes The Lead In NY-20

Posted Mar 27, 2009 at 2:06 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In the dramatic race to fill the seat vacated by New York US Senator Kirstien Gillibrand, a new Siena Institute Poll reports that the Democrat, Scott Murphy has erased Republican Jim Tidesco's lead. As the special election enters the final weekend, Murphy has reversed a four-point deficit and turned it into a four-point lead over Republican Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco. Murphy leads 47%-43%, having trailed two weeks ago by a 45%-41%. One reason for Murphy's imporovement: Tedisco’s campaign is viewed by voters as more negative by a 44%-25% margin, while Murphy’s campaign is seen as more positive. “While the percentage of likely voters supporting Murphy has risen about three points per week for the last four weeks, the percentage supporting Tedisco has dropped three points. In the last four weeks, Murphy turned a 12-point deficit into a four-point lead,” said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena New York Poll. Still, the district leans Republican. With GOP registration outnumbering Democratic, the race could come down to turnout. Perhaps somewhat ominiously for the Democrat, Siena reports that "regardless of who they are supporting, by a 45% to 35% margin, voters think Tedisco will win the election." Stay tuned for PollTrack updates.

It's Down To The Wire In NY-20 Congressional Race

Posted Mar 26, 2009 at 2:29 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The NY-20 congressional race to fill the seat vacated by US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has drawn down to a virtual tie according two three news polls. A Republican National Committee poll gives the GOP candidate, Jim Tedisco, a three-point lead over Democrat Scott Murphy in the special election to be held next Tuesday. A National Republican Congressional Committee survey actually shows the Democrat leading by two points, and Tedisco's own internal polling shows him leading by just one point. PollTrack's averaging of the three polls suggests the race is too-close-to-call, a virtual tie.

Race in NY-20 To Replace Gillibrand Grows Even Closer

Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 1:57 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The race to replace US Senator Kristin Gillibrand in New York's 20th Congressional district has grown even closer. Democrat Scott Murphy has reduced Republican James Tedisco's once 12% lead to just 4 points, according to a new Siena Research Institute poll. Tedisco now leads the race 45% to 41%. Of note: "While two weeks ago, voters said Tedisco would do a better job than Murphy representing them on six issues, Murphy now leads on two of those issues, including the most important issue for 20th C.D. voters: the economy."

Race To Replace Democrat Gillibrand in NY-20 Tightening

Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 12:33 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a new poll, the race to replace former Rep. Kristin Gillibrand in NY-20--appointed by Gov. Paterson to fill Hillary Clinton's vacated Senate seat--is getting tighter: "Democrat Scott Murphy has slashed into the huge lead once held by Republican Jim Tedisco in the New York special House election scheduled for March 31. . . . Tedisco, the state Assembly minority leader, holds a 7-percentage-point lead over Murphy, a 39-year-old venture capitalist, according to the late February survey by the Benenson Strategy Group. The margin was 44 to 37 percent, with Libertarian Eric Sundwall at 4 percent, and 15 percent of voters undecided.The poll was paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The poll was conducted Feb. 24-25, and included interviews with 400 likely voters in the Upstate New York district."