NEWS BLOG: Poll may not be best predictor of New York Senate control


The Siena College Research Institute has released the results of a new statewide poll, and 54 percent of the respondents support a Democratic majority in the state Senate.

That seems like good news for Democrats, but they're received similar results before. And it didn't work out so well.

In the July 2010 Siena poll, 34 percent of the people interviewed said they wanted the Dems to take a bigger majority. A Republican majority was favored by 26 percent of respondents, while 35 percent favored a closely divided Senate. Democrats had the majority in 2010, but lost it in that year's elections.

Republicans have a 33 to 29 majority in the Senate.

There are several other factors working against the Democrats. While New York voters tend to disapprove of the Legislature's performance, they tend to like their individual legislators. Historically, some Democratic-leaning districts have been reluctant to oust Republican incumbents.

Money is also an issue: The Senate Democrats' campaign committee still owes $1.5 million on loans from the 2009 campaigns. It has a $750,000 balance, reports WXXI, compared to the Senate Republicans' $5.4 million. Republicans will have more to spend on getting their candidates' names and messages out.

The Senate district lines may turn out to be the pivotal factor. During recent redistricting, the state was sliced up in a way that protects Republican incumbents in the Senate and Democratic incumbents in the Assembly. That plan toughened the odds of either chamber flipping.