Karen DeWitt / NY Public Radio
July 17, 2012
A new poll offers some hope to Senate Democrats who are trying retake the Senate after losing to Republicans two years ago, but the GOP says they are far from worried.
A poll by Siena College finds that more New Yorkers would like to see the State Senate controlled by the Democrats, than by the Republican Party, which is currently in power. Siena’s Steve Greenberg says in a state where Democrats increasingly outnumber Republicans by a two to one margin, “naturally”, the majority will say they want Democrats.
The head of the Senate Democrats’ election efforts, Senator Mike Gianaris, is encouraged by the poll. It shows overall 16% more New Yorkers want Democrats in the Senate, but he says among women, the split is higher, with 30% more women favoring a Democratic led Senate. And he predicts that the Republicans days are numbered.
“They are throwing the kitchen sink at us, but they can not stop the wave of demographics that is coming down on them,” said Gianaris.
Senate Republicans, in a statement, call the poll numbers “anemic”. The GOP Senate election committee reported this week that they have $5.4 million dollars in their campaign war chest, compared to the Democrats’ mere $750,000. Democrats are also in debt by nearly one and a half million dollars. Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif says that “is not a winning formula”.
Gianaris says Democrats have been outspent in the past, and won. And he says oddly enough, in the past election cycles, the party that’s ended up spending the most money, has ended up in the minority in the Senate.
“It’s ironic,” he said.
Greenberg, with Siena, says it’s difficult to determine from the poll numbers which party will be successful in the Senate. He says the survey does not take into account Democrats who say they want a Democratic controlled Senate, and then vote for an incumbent Senate Republicans who is popular in the district, as often occurs.
“This is not a question that is going to help us read the tea leaves,” said Greenberg. “This is a statewide sentiment but we elect Senators district by district.”
And even if Democrats did pick up a bare majority of seats in November, they would still have to contend with four members of the Independent Democratic Conference, who have often voted with the Republicans.
Greenberg says the different factions could produce fireworks after the elections.
“We may have potentially have a very interesting fight in November or December to see who becomes the Majority Leader come January,” Greenberg said.
The Senate GOP counts the independent democrats as allies, and says Democrats would need to actually turn 8 seats in order to achieve a majority in the chamber. Senator Gianaris says he hopes if the Democrats do win a majority of seats that other Democratic Senators would “petty personal politics” aside so all could work together.