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Siena survey finds Gibson holds 16-point advantage

Monday, September 24, 2012
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— There wasn’t a lot of good news for Democratic congressional candidate Julian Schreibman in a new poll, which said incumbent U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kindherook, has a healthy lead and much higher name recognition in the 19th Congressional District.

Gibson, who was elected to his first term in 2010, is leading Schreibman, an Ulster County assistant district attorney and former federal prosecutor, 52 percent to 36 percent among likely voters, with 11 percent of the district’s vote up for grabs, according to a Siena Research Institute poll released on Friday. The one-term representative also is viewed more positively, although neither candidate is liked by a majority of the voters in the district.

Siena pollster Steve Greenberg noted on Friday that Gibson has a 15-point net positive favorability rating and that Schreibman is unknown by nearly two-thirds of voters in the district, with those who do know him being evenly divided.

“Gibson has solidified his base, garnering the support of 83 percent of Republicans in this district with a small Republican enrollment edge, and leads by 16 points with independents,” Greenberg said in a statement.

He added, “With 46 days until Election Day, Gibson has a strong 16-point lead over Schreibman as he tries to win re-election in a district where he does not currently represent a majority of the voters.”

Gibson currently represents the 20th Congressional District, which has a much larger Republican voter enrollment than the new district in which he is running. The change in districts was the result of redistricting by a federal judge earlier this year.

The 19th Congressional District now includes parts of Schoharie, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties. In the portion of the new district that Gibson already represents, his lead is almost two-to-one over Schreibman, with just a 5 percentage point lead in parts of the district that are new to him.

Gibson spokeswoman Stephanie Valle said in his first two years the congressman has built up a bipartisan record of putting upstate New York first, which has obviously resonated with voters in the new district. “[Friday’s] poll is further proof that New Yorkers want a representative that has vision, leadership, and is someone they can trust,” Valle added.

The Schreibman campaign remained upbeat following the poll, drawing parallels to their uphill challenge with the lead that Gibson overcame as a challenger in 2010. Schreibman campaign manager Jonathan Levy seized on the fact that Siena’s Greenberg believes this race has a long way to go.

“Almost exactly two years ago to the day, Siena released a poll showing Congressman Murphy up by 17 points; six weeks later he lost by 10 points,” Levy said in a statement regarding Gibson’s 2010 win.

In that race, though, Gibson had the benefit of an enrollment advantage.

Levy also highlighted the poll’s finding that a plurality of voters in the district plan on supporting President Barack Obama in November. “Given how voters are already rejecting the Romney-Ryan ticket in this district, they’re not going to vote for someone like Congressman Gibson who is 100 percent behind that agenda,” he said.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney does have 45 percent support in the district, compared with Obama’s 49 percent. The poll also reveals, contrary to Levy’s contention, that 20 percent of Gibson supporters back Obama.

The Siena poll interviewed 635 likely voters on Sept. 17 and 18, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

 
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