Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doug Hoffman Can Win

Chris Cillizza asks the question: Can Doug Hoffman Win in a post at The Fix. Buried in the post is a bit of news those rooting for the conservative Hoffman will find quite hopeful. Hoffman, who is running as a Conservative, appears to have bumped ahead of Scazzofava in the internal polling according to sources from both sides of the political divide:
In the latest Siena College poll released on Oct. 15, Owens led the field with 33 percent followed by Scozzafava at 29 percent and Hoffman at 23 percent. But, it was Hoffman who had gained the most since an Oct. 1 Siena survey; Hoffman moved up seven points in that time while Owens gained five points and Scozzafava lost five points. (Sources on both sides of the partisan aisle suggest that internal polling shows Scozzafava in third place now.)

Opinions vary on whether Hoffman can rise higher or whether he has reached the limit (or close to it) of his support.

Conventional wisdom suggests that while the North Country seat leans to Republicans in terms of registration -- as of April 2009 there were roughly 46,000 more GOPers than Democrats in the district -- there are simply not enough Republicans to split the base vote between Hoffman and Scozzafava and have either one win. (The district has long been represented by a Republican but President Obama carried it with 52 percent in 2008.)
Erick Erickson at Red State confirms Cilizza's reporting is consistent with what he has heard for over a week.  Cilizza is likely correct on the point there are not enough Republicans to split the base and have either one win but a quick look at the Siena poll  suggests support for Owens may be overstated in the poll.  The poll report shows on the issues it is only Hoffman who has gained support over the last two weeks:
“While voters give a small edge to Owens on virtually all of the issues, it is particularly interesting to note that it is Hoffman who has picked up the most support on every issue over the last two weeks,” Greenberg said. “When asked which candidate would be better on taxes, the voters divided virtually evenly among the three candidates.
Moreover, the crosstabs suggest the poll may have leaned heavily on Democratic respondents.  For example, Cillizza notes the district has a significant number of registered Republicans, yet the response to a question concerning favorability of Barack Obama shows a higher result than might be seen in other polls:

For a district that traditionally leans right and has higher GOP registrations to have increased favorability for Obama seems highly unlikely in a poll of likely voters.  The district voted for Obama by the same margin by which he was elected nationally.  The poll results are quite a bit more favorable to Obama than Rasmussen's polling shows as well.  Also support for Scozzafava is fading but support for Owens, even with a likely skewed poll shows support for him is soft:

Scozzafava is losing voters in all three affiliations, while Hoffman gains in all three:

Among Independents Hoffman made the largest gains picking up 11 points while Owens picked up 5.  With Hoffman making large gains among Independents and Republicans, the momentum seems clearly in his favor.  Cillizza reports that large cash infusions from Obama's NY fundraising will be poured into Owens coffers.  It is likely that ads will be targeted against Hoffman rather than Scazzofava.  For those who support sending a message to the GOP about backing liberals over strong conservative candidates, now would be the time to make a donation to the Hoffman campaign.   Click here to make a donation, remember every bit makes a difference.
For more see NRO editorial, " On the Right, an Upstate Upstart
The Other McCain  has an exclusive with Hoffman:

NY23 EXCLUSIVE: Hoffman asks Obama for Justice monitors to prevent vote fraud

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