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Albany Mayoral Poll: Little Has Changed

Democrats Sheehan, Commisso and McLaughlin
Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC)
Democrats Sheehan, Commisso and McLaughlin

One day before votes are cast in the key Democratic primary, a new poll shows Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan holding strong.

Calls were made to a stratified weighted sample of voters from the L-2 Voter list via both land and cell phones, supplemented with additional cell phone sample from Survey Sampling International

The survey released Sunday by the Siena Research Institute says Albany's first-term mayor continues to hold a significant lead in the three-way primary race against Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin and Common Council member Frank Commisso Jr. Pollster Steve Greenberg:   "Right now, Sheehan has the support of 51 percent of likely Albany mayoral Democratic voters, compared to 26 percent for Commisso and 13 percent for McLaughlin. What we see is that there has been very little change over the last four weeks of this intense campaign. If we go back to August, Sheehan led Commisso 50 to 20, with McLaughlin still at 13. So, Commisso up 6 points, Sheehan up 1 point, undecided down. Sheehan's lead, which was 30 points back in August, is now 25 points."

When the three candidates for Albany mayor debated for the second time at the Times Union’s Hearst Media Center, they were quizzed on that August 29th Siena poll.

Commisso said "A poll is a snapshot in time of a sample of voters"- a sample he implied left many constituencies out - as he unveiled his plan going forward. "There's a calculated effort on the part of city hall to suggest that renters will not vote, and will not vote against the incumbent. Now, we've gone out and talked to all these people. We built a great level of success and support amongst these constituencies. And for me, going forward, we will over the next two weeks go talk to even more voters and we will activate them for September 12th."

McLaughlin seemed to agree, saying she needs “unlikely” voters to win “and those are not the people that were called." "Polls have been known to be wrong, and we know that all too well, don't we here, um in this country, but we also know it in New York state. Four years ago, Lovely Warren in Rochester was predicted not to win and she's now running for re-election."

Sheehan seemed content with the poll's findings. "We've accomplished a great deal. There is still much work to be done. And I am encouraged and grateful to all of those out there who do believe that we are moving in the right direction."

The Siena poll finds Sheehan is viewed favorably by voters, according to Greenberg: "65 percent give Sheehan a favorable rating, 24 percent view her unfavorably, little changed from August. Commisso however, has really picked up on unfavorable. So back in August when he was 37 percent favorable, 22 percent favorable now. Now, he's at 38 percent favorable and almost the same 37 percent favorable so he's now it break even.  McLaughlin still viewed favorably by voters 49 to 25 percent but the problem for both Commisso and McLaughlin is that a quarter of likely voters still don't know enough about them to have an opinion. "

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy is hoping there will be a substantial turnout for Tuesday’s primary. "We have 81,000 registered voters in the city of Albany, and I believe that out of the 81,000 probably 44,000 are registered Democrat. This race will probably have 12,000 that will come out and vote to decide the mayor."  McCoy thinks he's picked the victor.   "Kathy Sheehan's gonna win, with uh, big numbers."

The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m.

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