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Poll shows Democrat Dan Maffei has 8-point lead over Republican John Katko

Ryan Delaney
Democrat Dan Maffei and Republican John Katko are running against each other in the 24th Congressional District.

The 24th Congressional District race between Democrat Dan Maffei and Republican John Katko is very competitive according to the first public poll of this race released yesterday.  

The Syracuse.com/Post-Standard/Sienna College poll gives the incumbent Maffei an eight-point edge over his Republican challenger, former federal prosecutor John Katko. The poll shows that Maffei has a bigger edge with Democrats than Katko has with Republicans, but that Katko has a seven-point lead with independents.

Sienna Research Institute Director Don Levy says geographically, there are no surprises in this poll.

“Dan Maffei is way ahead in the city of Syracuse. Clearly that’s going to be his sweet spot. He’s got 70 percent of the vote in Syracuse,” said Levy. “But in the other parts of the district, in the rest of Onondaga County, and the part of the district with Cayuga, Wayne and Oswego, it’s really up for grabs.

Levy says voter turnout in the city of Syracuse is key for Maffei, but a lopsided lead for Andrew Cuomo in the big race on the ballot, for governor, could keep Democratic voters home.  However, Levy says there is one wildcard on that front: the Green Party gubernatorial candidacy of Syracuse’s Howie Hawkins.

“Howie Hawkins is pulling 24 percent in Syracuse. So there’s clearly a possibility that as opposed to maybe an Obama enthusiasm in the past, a Hawkins enthusiasm, most especially in Sryacuse may bring out a certain degree of vote that could in fact benefit Dan Maffei,” said Levy.

The poll also shows Katko is also an unknown to more than one-third of likely voters. That gives Katko six weeks to get his message to those voters before Election Day.

Levy also says there is a big gender gap in the poll findings.

“That 20-point advantage amongst women for Dan Maffei is something you have to pay attention to, 56-36. With men, right now Katko has a tiny lead, by four points, 48-44, within the margin of error. But a pretty significant gender gap right now.”

Levy says it all means an eight-point lead for Maffei now could end in another central New York congressional race that could again come down to the wire.


Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.