September 16, 2012

Poll Watch: NY's 24th District (part one)

Earlier this month, Siena College surveyed 625 likely voters in New York's 24th congressional district, where I currently live. The 24th is currently represented by Republican Ann Marie Buerkle, who's running against Democrat Dan Maffei, the man she beat in 2010 by the slightest of margins.  I'll focus on the Buerkle/Maffei race later in the week; first we'll look at the larger picture the survey presents.

Our district has a slight Republican majority, but that doesn’t amount to much oomph for the Republican candidates.  At the top of the ticket, Obama (57% favorable/41% unfavorable) and Vice President Joe Biden (53/42) are rated higher than Romney (39/56) and Congressman Paul Ryan (36/48); and we’d vote to re-elect Obama/Biden by a 19% margin.  

No one holds a candle to Governor Andrew Cuomo in this category; he scored a 75% favorable/19% unfavorable rating.  Even Republicans like Cuomo, with only 18% having an unfavorable opinion, against 66% favorable. It's constantly speculated that Cuomo, a Democrat, may throw his hat into the ring in 2016, although he's not commenting on that.

So what's on our mind in the 24th? On the issues, Democrats and Republicans do what you’d expect, but the Independents are more interesting:
  • We sort of like the Affordable Care Act, with 52% favoring quickly and fully implementing it, compared with 42% in favor of repeal; Independents are split 47/47.
  • We don’t like the Bush tax cuts for incomes over $250K (61% say eliminate them); Independents agree by a large margin; 56% favor eliminating, vs. 41%  keep.
  • On the question of whether we're on the right track or the wrong track, wrong track wins by a very slight margin, 48% to 46%. But 50% of independents thing we're going off the rails.
We also learn that Republicans are not very fond of their front-runner. While a large majority of Democrats say President Obama's position is closer to theirs on four key issues, Businessman Romney doesn't get 50% of the Republicans on any of them.  And on each issue included in the survey – safeguarding Medicare for current and future seniors (20%); ensuring the long-term solvency of Social Security (20%);  implementing comprehensive immigration policy (23%); and addressing women’s reproductive health (21%), at least one in five Republicans bails on Romney, saying neither candidate represents their views. Across the board, more Independents align with Obama (45%, 41%, 34%, and 52%, respectively) than with Romney.

Last, when asked whether we’d like to see the Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives, or the Democrats take over, 51% of us (including 48% of Independents) would prefer the Dems take over.

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