A new poll gives Republican incumbent Rep. Chris Collins a slim lead over his Democratic challenger Nate McMurray in the 27th Congressional District.
The Siena College poll released Tuesday shows Collins leading McMurray 46-43 percent among likely voters. Reform Party candidate Larry Piegza had 1 percent of voters supporting him. The poll lists a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percent.
Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg noted that Collins has a narrow lead in a district that has over 40,000 more Republicans than Democrats.
"They approve of Trump by 18 points, they want to see a Republican Congress by 18 points, the sample is Republicans 18 points, yet Collins only leads McMurray by 3 points," Greenberg said. "So it's surprising because it's so tight, but when you factor in the indictment (of Collins), maybe it's less surprising."
Greenberg said Collins' indictment for insider trading is clearly "having a huge impact." Collins has denied the charges and indicated only last month that he was actively campaigning again in his bid for a fourth term.
Greenberg said the McMurray campaign has to be "invigorated" being only three points back three weeks out from the election. Still, he said, both candidates have work to do.
"What do we see when we look behind the numbers a litte bit?" Greenberg asked, then answered. "Right now, among Republicans 63 percent say they're with Collins. Nearly a quarter, 24 percent, say they're with McMurray. So Collins has got to bring Republicans back home in this Republican district. When we look at Democrats, they're overwhelmingly with McMurray, but it's 73-19 (percent). So McMurray's gotta bring back Democrats and increase turnout mong the Democrats."
Among Independents, Greenberg said the poll shows they are nearly evenly divided, as are men and women. The survey shows Collins with a negative 37-49 percent favorability rating, compared to 32-21 percent for McMurray, the Grand Island town supervisor. Collins also has a 6-point lead with voters with education less than a bachelor's degree.
WBFO reached out to the two campaigns for comment and received the following statement from Collins spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre:
"It’s not a surprise that this race is close. Voters have a clear choice between an avowed progressive who is open to impeaching President Trump, or a Trump Republican who will stand with the President and continue delivering for working families in NY-27."
In a statement from McMurray, he said the poll "tells us what we already know."
"Voters are choosing country over party. They’re motivated based on who will help families like theirs rather than simply voting along partisan lines,” said McMurray. “We always knew this would be a close race...but our TV ads went on the air yesterday...and as more voters tune in to the race and learn that they have a real choice, we’re more and more confident.”
The 27th Congressional District includes all of Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming and Livingston counties, with parts of Erie, Niagara, Monroe and Ontario counties.