Updated 11/01/2012 06:45 PM
Siena Poll: NY 21 is a "Near Dead Heat"
The race for the Congressional Seat in the new New York 21st District is as close as it's ever been. In fact, the Siena College Research Institute said it's a near dead heat with Congressman Bill Owens leading Matt Doheny by just one point. It's a stark contrast to an earlier poll that saw Siena giving Owens a 13 point lead. Our Brian Dwyer takes a look at the poll and tells how exactly we're seeing this major swing.
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NORTH COUNTRY -- On September 10th, Siena's Research Institute released a poll stating
Congressman Bill Owens has a large 13 point lead over Watertown Businessman Matt Doheny.
On November 1st, Siena released an updated poll showing that lead down to one point, 44 percent to 43 percent.
"I was a little surprised that it was as high as it was," Pollster Steven Greenberg said. "I'm a little surprised that it's as closed as it is, but not very surprised."
It is not surprising because Owens has never gotten 50 percent in either election he's won, and the district that stretches from Watertown to Glens Falls is heavily republican.
A closer look shows a few big eye-openers. It appears Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties will be where this is won. Owens' 28 point lead there, is down to three.
There is also the massive swing that took place with those voters who don't support either party.
"Independents are the big movers from our first poll to our second poll," Greenberg said. "Owens had a 30 point lead among independents back in early September. Now Doheny has a two point edge."
The two candidates say all that really matters though is the next five days. They both plan to visit all 12 counties before election day.
"It's confirming what our internal polling is showing which is its a dead heat going into the last five days," Doheny said. That's why we're out here working hard everyday and really asking voters to give me a chance."
"We'll be doing sort of rallies with democrats," Owens said. "In other places we'll be visiting businesses. It's going to be an interesting couple of days and ones that will put us in touch with folks for the final push."
Where the most work needs to be done Greenberg said, is those still undecided.
The candidates have to find a way to inspire that 9 percent is enough to actually convince them to cast a vote.
"These voters are going to choose one of the two candidates or they're going to sit on their hands and not vote in this race," Greenberg said.
The wildcard in all this could be Green Party candidate Donald Hassig. He's getting 4 percent, which is likely taking votes away from Owens.
It's very similar to the way Doug Hoffman took votes from Doheny in 2010.
Siena polled 629 likely voters for this poll. It says the margin of error is 3.9 percent.