Republican challenger Chris Collins faces Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul in the race for New York's 27th Congressional District.
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Just when you thought the Chris Collins - Kathy Hochul race for the 27th Congressional District seat couldn't get any closer, it has.
See the Complete Exclusive Poll
The latest exclusive poll by from Siena College, commissioned by WGRZ-TV and the Buffalo News, gives both Chris Collins and Kathy Hochul 47% of the vote, with 6% either undecided or not planning to vote. The poll of 633 likely voters in the district was conducted October 1-4, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.9%.
Hochul has gained two points since the first WGRZ-TV/Buffalo News poll came out in mid-August, while Collins number was unchanged. That poll was considered a statistical tie because the difference between the candidates fell within the margin or error.
When you track the two polls, the likeability of both candidates have gone down slightly since the campaign started to heat up around Labor Day. When voters were asked this week whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each candidate, Hochul was 47% favorable, while Collins was 46%. In the first poll, Hochul was 52% and Collins 48%.
"This thing is so tight [and] split right down the middle that there is no clear advantage here right now," Buffalo News Political Columnist Bob McCarthy said of the poll.
To support how tight this race is beyond the overall tie at 47%, the breakdown of the demographics supports just how close this race is. Hochul is winning the Erie County portion of the district 51-45%, but Collins wins the rest of the district 48-44%. For voters under 55, Collins is winning 51-42%, but for voters 55 and older Hochul is ahead 51-45%. Collins leads among men 51-44%; Hochul among women 49-44%.
Voters were asked which candidate would do a better job representing them in congress on a number of issues. On the topics of health care, fixing the economy, jobs, taxes, and the federal deficit, Collins leads Hochul in each category. Hochul leads Collins on the topic of representing interests of the community in Washington. On the question of which candidate is better trusted to do the right thing when it comes to Medicare, the candidates are tied, 43-43.
The 27th district, which has larger republican enrollment, continues to break for Mitt Romney in the presidential race; Romney gets 51% of the vote in this latest poll, while Barack Obama gets 42%. But when it comes to getting cross-over votes connected to the presidential election, Hochul has stronger numbers then Collins. Hochul gets 13% of voters who selected Romney in her camp, compared to Collins getting 8% of Obama voters to choose him.
2 On Your Side spoke to both candidates about the results.
WEB EXTRA: Click on the video player links to watch the entire interviews with both Hochul and Collins.
REPORTER: If you could describe your reaction to these numbers in a word or two, what would it be?
HOCHUL: Listen, I don't pay -- I can't. You know why? Because we saw polls go up and down last time. I'm still fighting every day because it's so important people in this district have an independent voice for them in Washington, so the only polls that matter are on election day.
Collins sounded similarly upbeat.
"We feel very good where we are," Collins said.
REPORTER: I'm sure some people are going to look at this and say: "Even though she's a popular incumbent, you'd have to think that a Republican at least some kind of advantage in such a strongly Republican district?"
COLLINS: Well, I'm confident on November 6 you're going to see exactly that advantage. To the best of my knowledge, I'm probably one of the only challengers in the entire country that's been leading on an incumbent since day one. There is a great advantage incumbents have.