Being just one man trying to cover 435 House races, 37 Senate races, a few dozen more states electing Governors, plus some of the technical and mathematical aspects of polling, I tend not to post on races that aren’t competitive.
So it’s surprising to me that I now have not one, but two New York polls to discuss today: Quinnipiac on the Governor’s race and Rasmussen on the Senate special election.
For Republicans, the polling in these races had been just discouraging, as the Democrats were looking so strong. Chuck Schumer was untouchable, Kirsten Gillibrand had leads fitting an established incumbent and not a fill-in appointee, and Andrew Cuomo looked sure to take his father’s old job.
The new polls change the outlook of two of those races, though. Quinnipiac has fresh Republican nominee Carl Paladino genuinely close to Cuomo, with the Democrat only ahead 49-43 (MoE 3.6). Before September Cuomo had not led that matchup by less than 29 points in a poll.
Now, my math still shows this an 80/20 race per this poll, with the Democrat taking the 80, but the Republicans weren’t supposed to get any air at all in this race, and instead were supposed to be completely smothered. This, for the NY GOP, is unalloyed good news.
The same holds for the Rasmussen poll on the Senate special election. Before September, Gillibrand’s leads apart from one outlier ran around 20 points, and as high as 26. She is not supposed to be ahead of Joe DioGuardi 49-39 (MoE 4.5). This is not supposed to be an 87/13 race in any poll.
These races still look good for the Democrats, without a doubt. But the NY Democrats were supposed to look like Mariano Rivera of the Yankees, closing out this election without incident. But even the great Rivera has his off nights, and there’s nothing like a Republican wave year for giving a Democrat an off election.
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