Poll shows Tenney with slender lead

Published Jun 22, 2016 at 4:00pm

With a week left in the Republican primary campaign in the 22nd Congressional District, the race is tight between Claudia L. Tenney and Steven M. Wells for the party nomination, says a poll.

Tenney, a state assemblywoman from New Hartford, leads Wells, a businessman from Cazenovia, 32 percent to 31 percent with George K. Phillips lagging behind at 13 percent, according to an independent poll conducted last week by Liberty Opinion Research in Buffalo. Phillips is a school teacher from Broome County.

The poll found 24 percent of 932 likely Republican primary voters remain undecided in the June 28 primary to fill the open seat of retiring Rep. Richard L. Hanna, R-Barneveld. Registered GOP voters cast their ballots next Tuesday from noon to 9 p.m.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, is a favorite among likely GOP primary voters in the district, the poll found. About 72 percent view Trump favorably.

Liberty Opinion’s findings show that the margin between Tenney and Wells has narrowed greatly from a previously released internal Tenney poll showing Tenney with a wide lead. Not only are Tenney and Wells running television commercials, but there has been investment in the race by outside interests and independent expenditure groups.

The earlier poll showed Tenney with a commanding lead over Phillips, 48 percent to 13 percent. Wells finished last with 9 percent.

In the new poll, each candidate has a lead in their home regions of the district that comprises all of four counties, including Oneida, and parts of four others.

“This race clearly will hinge on who can deliver their supporters to the polls in what will likely be a very low turnout primary election,” said Liberty Opinion President Nicholas Langworthy. “Whoever has the superior ground effort and turnout operation will likely win the nomination.”

He added, “All three candidates have clear paths to victory in a volatile three-way race.”

Tenney ran an unsuccessful primary against Hanna two years ago.

The poll, conducted June 14 to 15, was paid for by Liberty Opinion and is not affiliated or contracted by any campaign, candidate or outside entity involved in the race, according to Langworthy.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percent.

Responses were gathered through landline interviews conducted using automated phone calls.

Kim A. Myers of Brome County is the Democratic candidate. Martin Babinec of Little Falls is running as an independent.