Jim Tedisco Leads by 12 In NY-20 Poll

This is the latest polling in the race to succeed Kirsten Gillibrand:

The first independent poll in the special House election to replace now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) shows that Republicans have a strong chance of taking back Gillibrand’s upstate seat.

In a poll by the Siena Research Institute of Siena College that was released Thursday, state Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R) led venture capitalist Scott Murphy (D), 46 percent to 34 percent.

The poll of 710 likely special election voters was taken Feb. 18-19 and had a 3.7-point margin of error…

“Jim Tedisco currently has a 12-point lead over Scott Murphy in a district that has a 15-point Republican enrollment edge,” said Steve Greenberg, a spokesman for the Siena poll. “And one of every five likely voters says that they have not yet made a choice in the special election.”

Still, Tedisco carries several distinct advantages. On half a dozen leading issues of the day, voters said they favored Tedisco over Murphy. Tedisco was viewed favorably by 47 percent of those surveyed, and unfavorably by 20 percent. Murphy’s favorable/unfavorable numbers were 29 percent/10 percent.

Democrats are trying to argue that this poll shows Tedisco as weaker than one would expect. But while NY-20 is often referred to as a strong Republican seat, Barack Obama won the vote in the district by 3 percentage points. For Tedisco to be running far ahead of John McCain is encouraging — particularly at a time when the president’s approval ratings hover around 60 percent.