My column for this week on the performance of polls in the New York 23rd District is now posted.
Here is what REALLY happened to Hoffman's lead:
The turning point was NOT the Scozzafava endorsement, but her withdrawing from the race. For the past two decades union support has been part of the REPUBLICAN winning coalition. That is how McHugh racked up such large margins in the past. There are over 80,000 union households. In this campaign, the union vote was split right down the middle until Dede withdrew, then it swung to Owens and the labor gotv did the rest. With labor missing as part of their coalition, I am not sure how easy it will be for Republicans to unseat Owens.
There was also a backlash against Hoffman. The district is NOT particularly conservative or ideological. We like Dede. We don't agree with her always, but she is one of our own. She has won her Assembly district several times by large margins. I suspect she can serve as long as she wishes. Some residents took the attacks on her personally, and may have voted on that basis.
The other part of the backlash was against Hoffman being a carpetbagger and bringing down upon this district all this unwanted attention. Forget the establishment vs. grassroots narrative, and any others. This became a local vs. outsider story. The only thing we like less than government are national party types and big name motormouth outsiders who try to come in and tell us what to think and do. We are perfectly capable of figuring things out for ourselves. For moderate Republicans who crossed the aisle before supporting a calm, steady, ex-military guy was a short walk
The third part of the backlash was to Rush's crude RINO joke. Owen played it like a fiddle. Meantime, Hoffman was given a chance to distance himself from it and declined to do so. Many residents RECOILED from those remarks.
In a two way race between Dede and Owen, Scozzafava would have won with 55% of the vote. In the past 14 races over 26 years Democrats polled over 30% of the vote only three times. Hoffman badly underperformed. St. Lawrence, Jefferson, and Lewis counties would have provided the core of support to win handily. HOffman trailed in St. Lawrence County 57%-38%
The law of unintended consequences continues to unfold. There is lingering resentment over outsiders causing the loss of the Republican seat, and the trashing of Dede. Hopefully Hoffman will run in his own district next time. I have already heard of 5 cases of people switching their registration away from Republican. Those few voices in national media who warn against a purge of moderates are right. It is already happening in NY-23. There will be fewer registered Republicans in 2010.
Posted on November 9, 2009 1:57 PM
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