Despite a huge voter enrollment advantage for his party in the 20th House district — which stretches from the Hudson Valley to Saranac Lake — Republican Chris Gibson lags sharply behind incumbent Rep. Scott Murphy.
Murphy is better known, with a stronger favorability rating than Gibson, and voters say Murphy will represent them better on the issues, according to a Siena (College) Research Institute poll of likely voters released today.
What’s more, Murphy is polling well above the 50% mark considered important for incumbents hoping to win re-election. He leads Gibson 54-37%.
What’s more, Murphy is attracting support from 32% of Republicans, a devastating number given what was supposed to be severe anti-Democratic anger in the district.
Murphy’s support is strongest in the North Country, according to Siena, where he is hitting 59%. Again, that’s a remarkable statistic for a region once considered a GOP bastion.
But here is perhaps the most stunning revelation in this poll: Voters in NY-20 still support President Barack Obama’s stimulus package by wide margins.
If that holds true, it undermines the core narrative of Chris Gibson’s campaign. Here’s the comment from Siena’s Steven Greenberg.
“By a 57-39 percent margin, voters support Obama’s stimulus proposal. A majority supports his proposal to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthy, and half the voters would prefer to implement the recent health care reform legislation, compared to 44 percent who would like to see it repealed. Democrats and independent voters support the President on all three proposals, while Republicans strongly oppose his positions,” Greenberg said.
-Murphy leads among women by 26%.
-Murphy leads on every issue, including jobs and taxes.
-Murphy leads by a 2-to-1 margin among independents.
Greenberg points out that Murphy’s lead is an “early” one, with roughly seven weeks of campaigning to go. But it also raises tough questions about what line of attack Gibson might use to whittle away at the Democrat’s lead.