NY-9: A Republican Poll, a Republican in the Lead

Magellan Strategies polls 2,055 likely voters in NY-9, the seat formerly occupied by Anthony Weiner’s crotch, and grabs the headlines: Republican Bob Turner’s in the lead! Turner’s up 4 points on David Weprin, the Democrat who whiffed a gotcha question about the size of the national debt. This comes right after an internal Turner poll that showed the race tied, and a statement from that pollster proclaiming Turner momentum.

Do we buy it? Mostly. A Democratic source immediately contacted me to say the poll was bunk, and that Weprin would win – spin, but also a conscious decision not to downplay expectations. A non-partisan election watcher told me that the race was teetering between “toss-up” and “lean Dem,” but that Republicans weren’t making the moves you’d expect for an incipient upset.

What does the poll tell us? Sixty-three percent of the sampled voters say they’re Democrats, basically in line with the district. Seventy-one percent say they’re white – and that’s considerably whiter than the district. According to the last Census data, NY-9 is 57 percent white, 19 percent Asian, 17 percent Hispanic, and 4.4 percent black. Ah, but the poll corrects for that, just a little – it has a higher-than-the-Census percentage of black voters, and it captures the fact that Hispanic voters don’t turn out at as high a level as other voters. The one piece of weirdness in the poll is an unexpectedly high, statistically significant showing for the Socialist Workers Party candidate. Does he actually get more than 3 percent on election day?

So, yes: Democrats are still as likely to lose it as they are to hold on to it.