Democratic Congressman Bill Owens appears to hold a large lead against Republican Challenger Matt Doheny in the brand new New York 21st Congressional District. But Siena College, which conducted the poll, says it's not over. Our Brian Dwyer breaks down the poll and has reaction from both candidates in the North Country's biggest race this season.
NEW YORK STATE -- Breaking it down, Bill Owens has double digit leads in favorability, he gets more support within his own party and voters seem to be more interested in Democratic policies on education, health care, Afghanistan, taxes and the most important issue to voters, creating jobs.
"This is a district that's enrolled Republican, but in terms of their political leanings, it's moderate and maybe tilting democratic," Steven Greenberg of the Siena Research Institute said.
The overall numbers show it. Owens leads 49 to 36, 13 points over Republican Challenger Matt Doheny. The numbers are despite district polling in the presidential race that shows President Obama with just a five point lead.
"All politics are local. What we see here is there are a number of voters who are voting for Mitt Romney and Bill Owens," Greenberg added.
That's not good news for the challenger. Doheny, though, doesn't seem terribly concerned, saying Owens didn't get 50 percent, despite the fact voters were interviewed at the same time as the Democratic Convention.
And in a release, added: "It's laughable to think three nights of wall-to-wall television coverage didn't have a bearing on these numbers."
But Greenberg says he's not buying it, the Republican Convention had literally just ended and was very fresh in voter's minds.
"Campaigns say what they have to say when a poll comes out that they don't like. That's certainly understandable," he said.
"I didn't pay much attention to either the Democratic or the Republican Convention because my focus has been on the 240,000 new people I need to interact with and allow them to get to know me," Congressman Bill Owens added.
That's the one spot Owens is hurting. The new part of the district, the Capital Region near Albany, actually favors Doheny by four points. Overall, there's still eight percent undecided. He knows there's plenty of work left.
"I think that my view of being as non-partisan as I possibly can be, having a view that is Main Street focused is the kind of thing that will attract them to me," Owens added.
Work Doheny pledges as well, needing to make up a lot of ground in the old part of the district. He points out a Siena poll two years ago showing Chris Gibson down 17 points at this time. Gibson won by nine.
"I'm still committed to being the hardest working candidate, going out and meeting voters and telling them about my plan to get Washington working for us again," Doheny said.
There's also Green Party Candidate Donald Hassig. He's not expected to be a big factor in the race, but did poll at six percent.
Greenberg says Doheny needs to find a way to bring back the republican base and appeal to independents, which could be tough considering the two are kind of in conflict of one another.