One year out, signs show State Assemblyman Greg Ball is strongest challenger for 2010
The first poll of likely voters in the competitive race in New York’s 19th congressional district* shows New York State Assemblyman Greg Ball (R-Patterson) in a statistical dead heat with the incumbent Congressman in the historically more challenging parts of the district. This poll gives the Ball campaign an important look at current voter attitudes, which are quite favorable towards Ball only one year before the election.
The results of a sample of 290 “likely” general election voters surveyed October 21-22 show Ball (43%) lands within the 5.7% margin of error against the incumbent Congressman (48%), with 9% of voters undecided.
News 12 contributor Michael Edelman, an independent consultant and one of the area’s most respected political analysts, said that “the recent polling results make it clear that Republican Greg Ball is in position to win the 19th congressional district against the Democratic incumbent.”
Todd Vitale, of the professional polling organization Vitale & Associations, says that despite his current incumbency and name identification advantage over Ball, the current Congressman trails Ball in Dutchess County (Ball +4), and by a wide margin in Putnam County (Ball +20).
Vitale says that Hall’s ballot score stands at just 40% among men and 47% among voters over 65 years old. According to Vitale, also alarming for the incumbent is that Ball (48%) defeats the incumbent (38%) among independents, who were critical in electing the current Congressman in the traditionally right-leaning 19th district.
Other areas of note within the poll show that no other prospective candidate in the 19th district shows stronger standing then Ball.
“For example, Sue Kelly is now known by less than 75% of the voters in these counties, and her favorable rating is below 50% here,” Vitale said. “And, fully 89% of likely voters in this portion of CD19 have never heard of Nan Hayworth, and similarly, 78% have never heard of George Oros.”
The current Congressman has already been named as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2010 by national political handicappers Roll Call, Congressional Quarterly,Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the Cook Political Report, and now “falls below the magic 50% mark with almost every voter subgroup…even where he would otherwise expect to benefit from Democrat-leanings,” according to Vitale.
The incumbent scored his surprise win in 2006 with a strong showing in Westchester County. However, following the recent 2009 local elections, he now has even more cause for concern, and Ball’s strong ground game in the incumbent’s base of Northern Westchester helped push County Executive-elect Rob Astorino over the top in his victory over three-term incumbent Andy Spano in a county where Democrats hold a huge registration advantage. Ball also helped local Republicans flip control in the towns of Yorktown, North Salem, Lewisboro; gain seats in the town of Somers; and retain control in the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge.
For the first time in over a decade, Republicans now control almost all of Northern Westchester except the town of Cortland and the villages of Peekskill and Mount Kisco, which bodes well for Ball, a two-term state lawmaker with a populist reputation for bucking both parties. Ball was also one of the only challengers nationwide to outpace the incumbent Congressman in fundraising the past two quarters, earning Ball placement into the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program.
“The recent resurgence of Republicans is reflected in the poll results particularly among independent voters which clearly are the key to winning in 2010,” Edelman added. “These voters want Congressmen who are vigilant about keeping spending and deficits under control, and about preventing big government intrusion in our daily lives. These ‘small c’ conservatives don’t care about party affiliation, they do however care about the future of their children and grandchildren and the increasing debt burden that they will inherit from Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democratic Congress.”
*Editor’s Note: Attached, please find a copy of the poll and a summary memorandum from Vitale & Associates. Todd Vitale has been polling for more than 15 years and has conducted research on behalf of successful candidates for President, U.S. Senate, Governor, Congress, and candidates all the way down the ballot. These findings summarize a scientifically-valid telephone survey conducted by professional interviewers who spoke with N=300 randomly-chosen “likely” general election voters throughout CD19′s Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Responses to this survey were gathered October 21-22, 2009. The confidence level associated with a survey of this type is 95% with a + 5.7% margin of error.