A new Siena poll of the NY-23 House district finds that this race could still be a contentious three-way race -- even though Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, the star of last year's topsy-turvy special election, has dropped out. The problem: A lot of his voters might not know that he dropped out -- and his name remains on the ballot -- and he still splits the conservative vote and thus helps Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.
The initial numbers: Owens 42%, Republican nominee Matt Doheny 31%, and Hoffman 15%. When Hoffman backers are informed that he dropped out, the numbers change to Owens 44%, Doheny 39%, and Hoffman at only 1%. The survey of likely voters has a Â±4% margin of error. There is no prior Siena poll of this race for direct comparison.
For what it's worth, it's also a good thing for Republicans that Hoffman narrowly lost the Republican primary against the establishment-backed Doheny, and subsequently threw his support the GOP's way. Only 28% view Hoffman favorably, with 55% unfavorable. By contrast, Owens's favorable rating is 46%-35%, and Doheny's is 36%-34%.