Benishek leads state Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard, 42 percent to 39 percent, in the survey of 404 likely voters released by Washington-insider newspaper the Hill. The 3 percentage point lead is within the 4.9 percent margin of error, and shows a significant shift from early post-primary internal polling in the district, which showed Benishek with double-digit advantages.
Republican challenger Nan Hayworth leads two-term Democratic Rep. John Hall by three points — 46 percent to 43 percent — among 610 likely voters, Siena found.
Hayworth's lead fell within the poll's margin of error (plus or minus four percentage points), making the race a dead heat.
That's consistent with forecasts by independent political handicappers such as the Cook Political Report that rate the race a tossup.
Analysts expect the GOP to pick up at least a few seats in New York. With a little effort, this seat could be one of those pick-ups. PA-07: Pat Meehan (for Joe Sestak's House seat):
The race between Republican former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan and Democratic state Rep. Bryan Lentz is essentially tied, says today's The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll, which has Meehan leading Lentz by a single percentage point, 40-39. They're running to replace outgoing Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.
The survey of 405 likely voters was conducted between Oct. 2 and Oct. 7. Meehan’s edge is well within the poll’s margin of error of 4.9 percent.
One percent of respondents said they would vote for another candidate, and 20 percent said they were undecided. The only other candidate in the race is Jim Schneller, a conservative independent who was placed on the ballot with the help of Lentz’s allies, including one of his top campaign workers.
Democrats look like they were hoping to split the right's vote. That's not a sign of great confidence in their candidate. The fact that 20% are undecided probably helps Meehan more than Lentz, but it suggests that this race isn't over yet.