With less than a week to go before a special election to fill a vacant House seat in upstate New York, Democratic candidate Scott Murphy has surged to a four-point lead over his opponent, Republican Jim Tedisco, according to a new poll.
Murphy, ahead 47-43 among likely voters, has steadily gained on Tedisco as the election nears, reversing a 12 point deficit from just a month back. After a poll two weeks ago showed Tedisco's lead had dwindled to four, the New York assemblyman attempted to wrest control of his ad content from the national GOP, which continued running attack ads anyway.
Those ads may have cost Tedisco his lead, as today's poll by the Siena Research Institute says likely voters considered Tedisco's campaign "more negative" by a 44-25 margin. That negativity comes in the form of an effort to portray Murphy as a Wall Street fat-cat. (In a recent debate, Tedisco subtly jabbed Murphy by proclaiming "I'm not a millionaire" -- even though he probably is).
Tedisco's campaign downplayed the Siena poll, saying internal polling from both campaigns still has Tedisco in the lead by two or three points.
"Heading into Election Day, our campaign's internal polling shows us continuing to lead, just as we have for this entire race," said Tedisco in a statement. "Today's Siena poll is simply another in a line of polls that show this race within the margin of error."
The March 31 election will fill the House seat vacated by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed to fill Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's empty Senate seat.