Thursday, February 26, 2009

Murphy Catching Up With Tedisco

Most of the morning papers reported the latest Siena poll as is, showing Jimmy Tedisco's 12-point lead over Democratic newcomer Scott Murphy. On the face of it the news isn't so good for Dems to hold onto Gillibrand's seat, but it must be pointed out that the only other poll had Tedisco up by more than double a couple weeks ago. Sure, it was a NRCC internal and naturally should skew to Tedisco, but I doubt by so much.

Devtob at The Albany Project points out some important numbers within the poll:

Tedisco leads on all the issues, but his lead is smallest (34-30) on the economy and health care (32-28). Other issues, and Tedisco's lead in parentheses, are: "successfully ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan" (29-22); education (33-28); homeland security (40-18); and "bringing more federal money into our district" (35-27).

The poll found that Tedisco is strongest, with a 20-point lead, in Saratoga and Rensselaer counties, where Tedisco's antics as a blowhard spokesman for the powerless wingnuts in the Assembly have been a staple of Albany media legislative coverage for more than 20 decades.

In the northern part of the district, where Murphy lives (Tedisco does not live in the district), Murphy actually leads by 2 points. In the southern part of the district, Tedisco leads by 11.

In general, I think this poll is good news for Murphy, for the following reasons.

He's substantially closed the gap; most voters view the economy as the top issue, and Tedisco has embarrassingly refused to state his position on the stimulus package to help the economy; he already has Gillibrand's endorsement, the TV ad is sure to follow; Tedisco's lead in Saratoga and Rensselaer counties is mostly based on name recognition (Gillibrand won both of those counties handily in November); and, most notably, there is lots of room to move up Tedisco's 20 percent unfavorability rating, especially if future TV ads and other media accurately portray him as a hot-headed loudmouth, too conservative for the district, a career politician who has never lived in the district, and, if elected, a minority member of the House who would deliver a lot less for the district than Scott Murphy.

This is what Murphy has to focus on and so far, he's doing a good job hammering Tedisco for his inability to state a position on the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R.1). Health care is going to be coming up more and more in the news as Obama begins to press for a bill in March. If Scott can show he'll be in the President's corner, expect those health care numbers to turn in his favor as the district is very much in support of Obama. Also, take advantage of local fact checkers, especially when you speak truth and Tedisco tries to claim credit for things that he was passively associated with.