A Siena Research Institute poll released this morning shows Bill Owens, the Democrats' candidate and Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, in a statistical dead heat with three days left before Election Day.
The poll, which tapped 704 likely voters via telephone from Tuesday to Thursday, suggests Republican Dede Scozzafava is too far back to win.
Mr. Owens has support from 36 percent of likely voters, with Mr. Hoffman garnering 35 percent support. Ms. Scozzafava has support from 20 percent of those polled.
"Unfortunately for Assemblywoman Scozzafava, this has become a two person race between Owens and Hoffman,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg in a statement. "She now has the support of only one in five voters, having gone from 35 percent support to 20 percent support since the beginning of the month."
Mr. Owens has shown measured increases from Siena's two previous polls, but Mr. Hoffman's support is skyrocketing.
Excepting Democrats, Mr. Hoffman has "picked up considereable steam" in almost every demographic, the pollster said. He's picked up 10 points in Madison, Oneida and Oswego counties, 12 points in the Clinton/Essex/Franklin/Fulton/Hamilton region and 15 points in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
The respondents' input on each candidate's favorables and unfavorables tells the clearest stop of Ms. Scozzafava's precipitous drop.
“Over the last five weeks, Scozzafava has gone from having one in five voters having an unfavorable view of her to now half of voters having an unfavorable view of her,” said Mr. Greenberg. "At the same time, Hoffman and Owens have gone from both having roughly two-thirds of voters not knowing enough about either candidate to have an opinion to now fewer than one-quarter of voters not having an opinion. And as the two of them are virtually tied in the horse race question, they are likewise virtually tied on their favorability ratings.”
Mr. Greenberg also laid out a nightmare scenario, at least to those of us who are now accustomed to 12-hour days, five to seven days a week.
"Given the tightness of the race and the need to count every vote, however, including those from the military, it is certainly possible that the victory party will have to be delayed beyond Tuesday night," the pollster said.
UPDATE: Mr. Hoffman released this statement about the poll and Ms. Scozzafava's decision to suspend her campaign:
"This morning’s events prove what we have said for the last week; this campaign is a horserace between me and Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked candidate, Bill Owens. At this moment, the Democratic Party, the Working Families Party, ACORN, Big Labor and pro-abortion groups are flooding the district with troops and they are flooding the airwaves with a million dollars worth of negative ads. They are throwing mud; they are trying to stop me.
"It's time for us to send a message to Washington—we’re sick and tired of big spending, high taxing, career politicians and by voting for me on Tuesday you will send that message loud and clear.”