Now this is big news. The new Siena poll out this morning, testing the special election this Tuesday for Kirsten Gillibrand's old House seat, shows Democratic candidate Scott Murphy ahead of Republican Jim Tedisco by 47%-43% -- the first public poll to put the Dem ahead, though his lead is still within the Â±3.2% margin of error.
A poll from two weeks ago showed that Murphy was already closing the gap, trailing at the time by 45%-41%, after a poll two weeks before that had given Tedisco an even wider lead of 46%-34%.
The poll from two weeks ago showed Murphy achieving a huge turnaround among independents, and taking a six-point lead. But now this week's poll gives Tedisco a one-point edge among independents -- but Murphy's Democratic support has gone up from 72% to 84%, and Tedisco's Dem crossover support has fallen from 17% to 11%, and he even gets 27% of Republicans.
Murphy's road from 12 points down to four points up can be traced to a few things. First of all, he is a first-time candidate who started out with no name recognition, going up against the well-known state Assembly minority leader. Next, Murphy has consistently built up his own brand by tying himself in with President Obama and the stimulus plan. And now the White House itself has gotten involved through a public endorsement by Obama, a radio ad starring Joe Biden, and a new DNC ad reminding voters about the Obama endorsement.