Owens Leads Doheny By Double Digits, Poll Says


With just over eight weeks until an Election Day rematch, Democratic Representative Bill Owens has a 13-point lead over Republican challenger Matt Doheny, according to an independent poll released Monday morning.

Owens leads Doheny 49-36 percent, with 6 percent for Green Party candidate Donald Hassig and 8 percent undecided.

The Siena College Research Institute polled 638 likely 21st Congressional District voters last week. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percent.

Likely voters see Owens as doing a better job than Doheny representing them on a series of six issues, by margins of seven to 18 points in the newly redrawn district that has a 15-point Republican enrollment edge.

"By double-digit margins, voters think Owens is better than Doheny on education, health care, taxes, Afghanistan, and jobs, by far the most important issue to voters,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

Greenberg spoke live by telephone on 7 News This Morning. Click on the picture above to hear the interview.

The poll finds jobs are the top concern of 41 percent of those surveyed. That's more than twice the number for the next most important issue, the federal budget deficit.

Those issues are followed by health care, education and the war in Afghanistan.

Forty-four percent say Owens will do better on jobs, compared with 31 percent for Doheny.

In a statement released immediately after the poll came out, Doheny attributed the results to a boost for Owens on the heels of the Democratic National Convention last week.

"We all know polls are merely snapshots in time. Siena was in the field during the Democratic National Convention, so it’s laughable to think three nights of wall-to-wall television coverage didn’t have a bearing on these numbers," Doheny said.

"And despite that coverage being overwhelmingly pro-Democrat at all times," Doheny said, "my opponent still cannot manage to crack 50 percent."

Greenberg countered, saying that even though the poll was taken during the Democratic convention, it was also after several days of wall-to-wall coverage of the Republican National Convention the week before.

From the Owens camp, campaign manager James Hannaway said, "We'll continue listening to voters and focusing on working across the aisle for common-sense job creation solutions."

"After all," Hannaway said, "the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day."

“By any measure, Congressman Owens enters the final two months of this electoral rematch in a very strong position," Greenberg said.

"He has a 13-point lead in the head-to-head matchup. Half of likely voters say they are prepared to re-elect Owens, compared to only 30 percent who say they would prefer someone else," according to the pollster.

Poll results show Owens is viewed favorably by 51 percent of voters and unfavorably by 22 percent, with 26 percent not knowing enough about him to have an opinion.

Doheny's favorability rating is 36-31 percent, with 33 percent not having an opinion about him.

Owens leads among independents, 54 to 23 percent.

He leads by 22 points in the northern and central parts of the district, while Doheny leads 41 to 37 percent in the new part of the 21st District, the so-called "capital district" north and east of Albany.

Greenberg noted that Owens comes out on top despite being in a district that has more Republicans than Democrats.

Many, he said, appear to be Republican in name only.

"A lot of likely voters in this district may be enrolled as Republicans, but they tend to side with the Democrats," Greenberg said.

See the Siena College news release.

See the entire poll.

See the Doheny response.

Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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