8:16 am Oct. 8, 2012
A Siena poll released yesterday showed one of the state's most endangered incumbents, Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul, running even with her Republican challenger Chris Collins.
For Hochul, who trailed by two points in August, the survey results are good news, since her re-drawn district is one of the most conservative in the state, and Collins has a personal fortune upon which to draw.
But the poll also showed the limits of running against Paul Ryan and his Medicare plan, an issue that helped Hochul win an upset victory in a special election last year, and which Democrats were hoping would help them across the country this year, after Mitt Romney selected Ryan as his running mate.
Voters in the Western New York District were evenly split on who they trusted more to manage Medicare, with 43 percent for each candidate. Hochul did 10 points better with those over 55 years old, with 49 percent saying they trusted her more, to 39 percent for Collins. But he did 12 points better with voters under 55, with 47 percent of those voters trusting him more on the issue.
It's the only issue where Hochul draws even with Collins in the conservative district, which could indicate some residual Democratic advantage on the issue. But it doesn't appear to be the lightning rod it was when Hochul won an upset victory in a race dominated by talk of Ryan's Medicare plan.
(The press release for the poll only mentions Medicare in passing.)
In fact, voters in the district seem to like Ryan, for the most part: 45 percent view him favorably, to 39 percent who view him unfavorably.