A special election in New York State’s 26th Congressional District to fill the seat of resigned Republican Christopher Lee is heating up, with national coverage (and money) descending on a race that should be easily Republican. Democrat Kathy Hochul has moved ahead of Republican Jane Corwin by tying the Republican to the Paul Ryan Medicare plan, making that issue the central difference in this race. Jack Davis, a Tea Party candidate, is the third candidate in the race, and he is drawing double digit support in the latest Siena University poll. If the Democrats manage to win this race the Democratic strategy of allowing the House Republicans to make the first move on entitlements and then clubbing them over the head with their own plan will have its first success.
The latest poll has Hochul pulling ahead, leading the race by 42% to 38% over Corwin, with Davis polling at 12%. Hochul has made a big move since the last survey, erasing a Corwin lead, with Davis losing almost 9 points in that time. What is the source of the move? Some interesting tidbits from the cross-tabs. Amongst the independents Hochul leads by 8 points, something that is a total reversal of the beating Democrats took from independents in the last cycle. The relative strength of the candidates with their own voters favors Hochul, as she polls at 76% support with Dems, while Corwin is holding only 66% of Republicans. And NY26 voters identified Medicare as the most important issue in this election. Amongst those voters Hochul has a huge lead, which gives some credence to the media focus on the Ryan plan, and validates the Hochul strategy of driving that issue home with attack ads on Corwin. Plenty of national coverage, with Ezra Kleinand Slate’s Dave Wiegel writing some good stories. The Siena crosstabs are here. And of course the political ads that we love so much are attached below. That election is Tuesday.