PLATTSBURGH — An early poll shows incumbent Congressman Bill Owens with a double-digit lead over challenger Matt Doheny in the race for the 21st District seat.
Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh, tallied 50 percent in the poll, while Doheny, the Republican from Watertown, got 38 percent. Green Party candidate Donald Hassig received support from 4 percent of those polled, and 8 percent were undecided.
The poll was commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research. It surveyed 400 likely voters from July 29 to 31.
“It’s clear that Bill Owens has cemented his reputation as an independent leader for middle-class families in upstate New York,” Josh Schwerin, northeast press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
“Just like last election, voters are rejecting Matt Doheny, who is once again running to join Republicans in Washington who voted to drastically cut Medicare and force seniors to pay more for their health care while giving tax breaks to millionaires and corporations shipping jobs overseas.”
Doheny lost to Owens in a close race in 2010. Douglas Hoffman was on the Conservative Party ballot in that race and received 6 percent of the vote, even though he did not campaign after losing a Republican primary to Doheny.
Doheny has the Conservative and Independence Party lines this year.
The poll showed that Owens had a favorable rating among likely voters of 41 percent, with 17 percent unfavorable and 24 percent having neutral feelings toward him.
Doheny’s favorable rating in the poll was 27 percent, with 19 percent unfavorable and 25 percent neutral.
Doheny’s camp shrugged off what they see as a partisan poll.
“The fact that Bill Owens can’t break 50 percent as an incumbent in a poll commissioned by his own party is indicative of how much trouble he’s in this fall,” Doheny spokesman Jude Seymour said Thursday.
“When people find out that Owens is part of a job-killing agenda of this administration, that number is going to be much lower than 50 percent.”
Seymour said they have done their own polls, which show a much closer race, but are not releasing details.
Owens was pleased with the poll results but cautious.
“While encouraging, the only poll that counts is on Election Day,” he told the Press-Republican.
“In the months ahead, I will continue my efforts to meet with my current and new constituents to discuss with them ideas for job creation and improving the economy.”
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