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Poll Shows Close NY-19 Race As Candidates Gather For WAMC/WNYT Debate

Facebook & Twitter composite photo by Dave Lucas/WAMC

A Siena College poll released in late August had first-term Republican Congressman John Faso holding a 5-point lead over Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado in New York’s 19th Congressional district. In a new Siena poll out today, that lead has shrunk to one point.

The 19th Congressional District spans 11 counties from the Capital Region to the northern outskirts of the New York City metropolitan area.

The candidates, including Green Party Candidate Steve Greenfield and Independent  Diane Neal, will debate today at 1 at The Linda, WAMC's Performing Arts Studio.

Ahead of that, a new Siena poll shows Faso and Delgado neck-and-neck. Pollster Steve Greenberg:   "Right now 44 percent of likely voters say they're with the incumbent Faso, 43 percent say they are with the challenger Delgado. Delgado, holding on strong to Democrats, where he leads 79 to 12 percent. Faso, doing well with Republicans, but not quite as well as Delgado is doing with Democrats. Faso leads among Republicans 71 to 13. Independents divided pretty much down the middle, 43 percent for Faso, 42 percent for Delgado. And 6 percent of voters overall say they're going to be with one of the minor party candidates, although I would caution that minor party candidates historically do better in pre-election polling than they do on election day, but we also have 7 percent of voters who are undecided."

Greenfield is polling with 1 percent  of the vote, while Neal had 5 percent.  WAMC political observer Dr. Alan Chartock says that 5 percent is "enough to kill Delgado."    "Right now, Delgado is facing a little bit of an uphill race, and everything is gonna depend on turnout. Look, we had the Cortez race out in Queens, where the pollsters were wrong by, not one point, but by 50 points. So anything can happen here."

The Faso-Delgado race is garnering national interest with the House of Representatives up for grabs.  "When we asked voters which party do you want to see control the House of Representatives after the November election, by a 3-point margin, 48 to 45 percent, they say the Republicans," said Greenberg.
Chartock noted  "The Democrats do not have a cohesive message. Chuck Schumer has not stood up and done what he needed to do, and all of that trickles down."

Delgado’s campaign announced former Vice President Joe Biden campaign in Kingston Friday. Could that help sway the vote?  Again, Chartock:  "Americans tend to vote based on the person, not on the basis of whether a particular political party should win. In this case, that's rather naive, but it's the way that it could turn out."

But Greenberg points out that Republicans tend to be better at showing up in mid-term elections than Democrats.   "So the real key for this race is gonna be 'can John Faso and his campaign continue to get Republicans motivated to come out and vote and to support his campaign, or can Delgado and his campaign do a better job of encouraging Democrats to vote in a mid-term election in which many of them often do not.’ If you can answer the question of 'which campaign will do a better job on turnout,' I can probably answer the question of 'who's going to win this race.'"

Election Day is November 6.

The Spectrum News/Siena College survey was conducted October 12-16, 2018 by landline and cellular telephone calls in English to 500 likely voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points.

A reminder that all four candidates will debate this afternoon in Albany – the debate will be carried live on WAMC and on Facebook. It airs Saturday on WNYT television.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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