Dem takes lead in N.Y. special election

Scott Murphy, running for an open congressional seat, has apparently overtaken his Republican opponent with just days left before the vote.

Published March 27, 2009 3:30PM (EDT)

WIth only a few days left to go before Tuesday's special election to fill an open House seat in New York, the Democratic candidate has come from behind and now leads his opponent, according to a new poll.

A survey conducted by the Siena Research Institute on Wednesday and Thursday and released today shows Democrat Scott Murphy up over Jim Tedisco by four percentage points, 47-43. That's a shift from previous polls, including one from Siena earlier this month, which have consistently placed Tedisco in the lead.

Murphy's campaign probably isn't celebrating yet, though. This poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points, so the Democrat's lead is within the margin of error. Plus, the Libertarian candidate, Eric Sundwall, was included in the poll but has now been removed from the ballot, and his supporters are likelier to back Tedisco than Murphy. Granted, that might not make that much of a difference, as Sundwall was only polling at two percent and third-party candidates almost always do better in polls than at the ballot box, but if the race is tight, Sundwall's exit could be a pivotal factor.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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